Governor Terry Mcauliffe has proclaimed Tuesday March 11th, 2014 as Tornado Preparedness Day in the Commonwealth of Virginia. At 9:45 AM EDT on Tuesday, the National Weather Service Forecast Offices across Virginia conducted a Statewide Tornado Drill. The Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) issued tips and information leading up to the drill, including registration for participation in the drill. As of March 10, there were over 391,000 registrants for participation, including Spotsylvania County Schools and the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg.
According to VDEM, it is vitally important to know what to do when a tornado warning is issued. “The Statewide Tornado Drill gives everyone an opportunity to practice,” said Brett Burdick, acting state coordinator of emergency management. “Knowing what to do can save your life.” The annual drill is a joint effort of the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and the National Weather Service. There were 5 reported tornadoes in Virginia in 2013 incurring over $80,000 in damages. There were no fatalities reported.
VDEM also posts tips on how to prep for tornadoes. The best news source during a storm is a radio. VDEM suggests getting a battery powered radio with warning alarm tone and set it to get information directly from the National Weather Service. This is the quickest way to learn that a tornado is heading your way. Also, determine in advance where you will take cover in case of a tornado warning. Keep this safe location free and uncluttered. More tips for planning for a tornado can be found here.