Tornado alerts sound all across Virginia at 9:45 Tuesday morning.
It’s the commonwealth’s annual tornado drill. It begins with a test tornado warning, sent by the National Weather Service to weather alert radios. Then radio and TV stations and cable providers will activate their Emergency Alert Systems which relay the test warning to listeners and viewers.
The Statewide Tornado Drill is a yearly opportunity to prepare Virginians for tornado emergencies and to test public warning systems.
“Tornadoes can occur any month of the year, and Virginia averages 16 tornadoes each year,” says Bill Sammler of the National Weather Service. “When a tornado watch is issued for your area, know where to seek safe shelter should a tornado warning be issued.”
It was just a little over a year ago, on Feb. 24, 2016, that Virginia was hit by the deadliest tornado event since 1959. An EF-1 tornado touched down on the Town of Waverly in Sussex County, an EF-3 tornado affected Appomattox County, and another EF-3 tornado hit the Middle Peninsula and Northern Neck region. Five people were killed and another 45 were hurt.
You can show your support by registering for the tornado drill. In recent years, 1 million Virginians have signed up.
For more information about how to keep yourself, your loved ones and property safe during tornadoes, visit www.vaemergency.gov/prepare-recover/threat/tornadoes.
* If widespread severe weather threatens the commonwealth on Tuesday, then the drill will be rescheduled for Wednesday, March 22, at 9:45 a.m.