Posted at 8:45 a.m.
This year’s statewide tornado drill begins at 9:45 a.m. Hopefully you are ready to take part.
The tornado drill is an important safety exercise to prepare for nature’s most violent storms. Our state has been hit hard in the past by multiple tornadoes, including several just last month, which have cost lives and left extensive damage.
The drill will start with a message from the National Weather Service. Our Fairfax Alerts will also send a message. If you’re not yet registered for Fairfax Alerts, do so here: www.fairfaxcounty.gov/alerts.
What to Do During the Drill?
What should you do for the drill? Exactly what you would do if a tornado warning was issued for your area:
- When a warning is issued, immediately take cover.
- Move to a designated shelter such as a basement or windowless room.
- Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect head and neck — crouch as low as possible to the floor, face down and cover your head with your hands.
- If outdoors with no shelter, lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands. Do not get under an overpass or bridge.
- Get out of vehicles and go to the closest shelter.
- Do not try to outrun a tornado in an urban or congested area.
Practicing these steps at least once a year will help you be better prepared when a tornado occurs near you. Because as you know, there isn’t a season for tornadoes — they can happen anywhere at any time!
And thanks in advance for taking part in today’s tornado drill.
Posted at 11 a.m.
The Feb. 24 severe storm system that spawned eight tornadoes, caused five deaths and inflicted damage to more than 400 structures is a stark reminder that tornadoes do occur in Virginia.
Since tornadoes can happen anywhere at any time, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and the National Weather Service hold a yearly tornado drill, which is fast approaching — Tuesday, March 22, at 9:45 a.m. The drill is aimed to make everyone familiar with what to do in case a tornado were to strike your neighborhood or office building.
In this video, Sandi Fox of our emergency management office explains why you should be a part of this year’s drill.
Learn more about the drill and register to participate at www.vaemergency.gov/readyvirginia/stayinformed/tornadoes, however, registration is not necessary to participate.
Posted at 1:30 p.m.
Just last month (Feb. 24), four people were killed in Virginia during the state’s first deadly February twisters on record.
Did you know that registration for Virginia’s statewide tornado drill — Tuesday, March 22, at 9:45 a.m. — is now open. Have you registered yet?
Tornadoes are nature’s most violent storms. They can appear suddenly without warning and can be invisible until dust and debris are picked up or a funnel cloud appears. Be prepared to act quickly.
- There were 67 tornadoes in Virginia from 2011 to 2013.
- 12 tornadoes occurred in Virginia in 2014.
- Seven tornadoes were recorded in Virginia in 2015.
When it comes to tornadoes, there’s no such thing as a “tornado season.” Tornadoes can strike anywhere, anytime — and you need to know the drill. That’s the reason the March 22 tornado drill is so important.
Sign up today as an individual, or register your family’s participation, your school or your business.
Posted at 8:30 a.m.
Today is the day for the annual statewide tornado drill. It happens at 9:45 a.m. We hope you’ve registered, although it isn’t necessary to do so in order to participate in the drill.
This morning’s drill begins with the National Weather Service (NWS) sending a test tornado warning that will trigger a tone alert and broadcast message on NOAA Weather Radio. The message will be picked up by TV and radio broadcasts via the Emergency Alert System, simulating what you would hear during an actual tornado warning. Fairfax Alerts will also send an alert to begin the drill. (If you haven’t yet registered for Fairfax Alerts, it doesn’t take long — go ahead and sign up now.)
When the test tornado warning sounds or when you receive your Fairfax Alert message, you should move as quickly as possible to a safe area in a sturdy building. Safe areas are basements and interior rooms on the lowest level of a building such as bathrooms, closets or hallways. Once in the safe area, crouch down or sit on the floor facing down and cover your head with your hands. Also be sure to stay away from windows.
Twelve tornadoes impacted Virginia in 2014, causing numerous injuries and more than $700,000 in property damage. Tornadoes can happen anytime, anywhere, with little or no warning, and you need to know the drill. Knowing what to do when seconds count can save lives.
For more information about tornado safety and to register for this morning’s statewide tornado drill, go to www.ReadyVirginia.gov.
Posted at 9:45 a.m.
Tornadoes can happen anywhere and at any time of year, making preparedness for these potentially deadly storms even more important. For example, Fairfax County had a couple of tornado watches and tornado warnings in 2014.
To be better prepared, businesses and organizations, schools and colleges, and families and individuals can practice taking cover from tornadoes by participating in the annual Statewide Tornado Drill Tuesday, March 17, at 9:45 a.m.
Registration for the tornado drill is not necessary, but you can learn more and show your support by signing up at www.ReadyVirginia.gov.
The annual drill is a joint effort of the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and the National Weather Service (NWS).
To start the tornado drill at 9:45 a.m. on March 17, the NWS will send a test tornado warning that will trigger a tone alert and broadcast message on NOAA Weather Radio. The message will be picked up by TV and radio broadcasts, simulating what listeners will hear during an actual tornado warning.
“Receiving a tornado warning as quickly as possible can make the difference between life and death,” said Bill Sammler, NWS warning coordination meteorologist. “One of the fastest ways for people to get a tornado warning is by NOAA Weather Radio, which provides warning information directly from the nearest National Weather Service office. However, cellphone apps such as Ready Virginia are also available that quickly provide critical warning information at little or no cost. Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) also provide tornado and flash flood warnings via text message to any compatible cell within the warning area, even if you are visiting or just traveling through an affected area.”
For help in conducting a tornado drill and to register for next week’s statewide drill, go to www.ReadyVirginia.gov.