Register for the March 19 Statewide Tornado Drill

Virginia Tornado Drill

Posted at 11 a.m.

Did you know that over the last decade, Virginia has averaged 24 tornadoes per year?

Tornadoes may strike quickly, with little to no warning, causing extensive damage to structures and disrupting transportation, power, water, gas, communications and other services in its direct path and surrounding areas.

That’s why Virginia conducts an annual tornado drill. This year’s drill will be held on Tuesday, March 19, at 9:45 a.m.

In recent years, one million Virginians have signed up to participate. Join your neighbors and participate in the annual tornado drill; register at

Then on March 19 at approximately 9:45 a.m., 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.

When you hear the test signal, start your drill. As in real life, move to a safe area, crouch as low as possible to the floor, face down and cover your head with your hands.

Safe Shelter

  • If you can safely get to a sturdy building, then do so immediately.
  • Go to a safe room, basement or storm cellar.
  • If you are in a building with no basement, then get to a small interior room on the lowest level.
  • Stay away from windows, doors, and outside walls.
  • Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You’re safer in a low, flat location.
  • Watch out for flying debris that can cause injury or death.
  • Do not try to outrun a tornado in a vehicle.
  • If you are in a car or outdoors and cannot get to a building, cover your head and neck with your arms and cover your body with a coat or blanket, if possible.

Learn more online at

Fairfax AlertsSign up for severe weather alerts from Fairfax Alerts



About Fairfax County Emergency Information

Official emergency information about preparedness, response and recovery from Fairfax County Government.

2 responses to “Register for the March 19 Statewide Tornado Drill”

  1. Anonymous says :

    what do you do if you live in an apartment complex

    • Fairfax County Emergency Information says :

      Avoid windows. Go to the lowest floor, small center room (like a bathroom or closet), under a stairwell, or in an interior hallway with no windows. Crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing down; and cover your head with your hands. A bath tub may offer a shell of partial protection. Even in an interior room, you should cover yourself with some sort of thick padding (mattress, blankets, etc.), to protect against falling debris in case the roof and ceiling fail. A helmet can offer some protection against head injury. Interior stairwells are usually good places to take shelter, and if not crowded, allow you to get to a lower level quickly. Stay off the elevators; you could be trapped in them if the power is lost.