Today is the Last Day to Register for the March 20 Tornado Drill
Posted at 1 p.m.
It’s not too late to register for the 2018 Virginia Tornado Drill to be held at 9:45 a.m. on Tuesday, March 20 — although registration is required by the end of the day today. (Registration is required by the state to be completed at least seven days prior to the drill.)
The drill is a yearly opportunity to prepare for tornado emergencies and to test public warning systems.
How to Participate
Just register for the tornado drill online. If you don’t get “officially” registered, you can still conduct your own tornado drill on March 20.
In recent years, 1 million Virginians have signed up for the drill.
If you need assistance or have questions, feel free to contact our emergency management office at 571-350-1000, TTY 711.
How the Drill Works
At approximately 9:45 a.m. on March 20, the National Weather Service will send a test tornado warning over NOAA Weather Radios. This test signal will sound a tone alert, show a test message or flash to indicate a message, simulating what people would hear or see during an actual tornado warning. Local radio stations, TV stations and cable outlets will also broadcast the test message via the Emergency Alert System.
To participate, start your own tornado drill when you hear the test signal over NOAA Weather Radio or broadcast media.
* If widespread severe weather threatens on March 20, the drill will be rescheduled for Wednesday, March 21, at 9:45 a.m.
Tornado History in Virginia
- On Friday, March 31, 2017, two tornadoes touched down in the Hampton Roads region, including an EF-2 tornado with winds exceeding 120 mph. The tornado was on the ground for eight miles in the cities of Virginia Beach and Chesapeake damaging more than 200 homes.
- Virginians felt the destructive force of tornadoes again on April 6 in Lancaster County, near Irvington, when an EF-1 tornado, producing winds in excess of 90 mph, touched down damaging 45 structures.
- A storm system passing through the Commonwealth on May 5 produced nine tornadoes throughout the state.
- In April and August, communities in Northern Virginia were impacted by several EF-0 tornadoes.
- Several EF-1 tornadoes impacted communities throughout Southwest Virginia in October.
These are just some of the highlights of tornado activity across the state in 2017, but they are a stark reminder that Virginians, in all regions of the commonwealth, must prepare for the possibility of tornadoes and other natural disasters.