NOAA National Weather Service Wakefield, VA
PRESS RELEASE – Virginia Statewide Tornado Drill March 16th, 9:45 am
Severe Weather Awareness Week March 15 – 19, 2021
Points of Contact – Eric Seymour, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeff Orrock, email@example.com
Virginia’s annual Statewide Tornado Drill will occur on Tues., March 16 at 9:45 a.m. If widespread severe weather threatens the Commonwealth on that date, the drill will be rescheduled for Wed., March 17, at 9:45 a.m. The Statewide Tornado Drill is an opportunity to prepare Virginians for tornado threats and to test public warning systems.
The drill will start at approximately 9:45 a.m. with a test tornado warning sent in the form of a Required Monthly Test by the National Weather Service to National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radios and local broadcasters. Since this year’s drill will utilize the Required Monthly Test, most NOAA weather radios will NOT automatically sound an alert tone. For those participating in the drill, including schools and businesses, it is suggested to turn on your NOAA Weather Radio by 9:40 am, listening to the voice broadcast. Those with their NOAA Weather Radio on and listening to the broadcast will hear the audible test alert broadcast at 9:45 am. Local radio stations, TV stations and cable outlets will also broadcast the test message via the Emergency Alert System (EAS). Participants, including individual schools and businesses, should register for the drill with VDEM. Information and resources are available at https://www.weather.gov/akq/SevereWeatherAwareness.
“We are unable to know when and where a tornado may strike in Virginia, but we can take the time to prepare ourselves, our families, and employees on how to respond when a tornado warning is sounded. The Statewide Tornado Drill provides an opportunity to practice your preparedness skills to keep you safe in the event of a real tornado.” said Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) State Coordinator Curtis Brown.
“Tornadoes can occur any month of the year. In 2019, 19 confirmed tornadoes touched down throughout the Commonwealth impacting 21 different jurisdictions,” said Jeff Orrock of the National Weather Service in Wakefield. “Looking back over the past decade, tornadoes occurred in every year, though there were active and quiet tornado years. 2011, 2016 and 2018 were the deadliest years for tornadoes while 2004 was by far the most active year with over 80 tornadoes reported that year. 2007 was the quietest with only 2 tornadoes recorded”. Tornadoes have occurred in every month of the year, but are most active from April through September. Have a plan, know your location and surroundings and have a way to receive Watches and Warnings from the National Weather Service. Check to see if your smartphone is set to receive Wireless Emergency Alerts. When a tornado watch is issued for your area, review your plan and know where to seek safe shelter when a tornado warning is issued.”
The tornado drill is just one event in Virginia Severe Weather Awareness activities that will be occurring from March 15th – 19th. Virginia Severe Weather Awareness week will focus on a different severe weather topic each weekday. Each day during the week will address a different topic, including Tornadoes, Severe Thunderstorms, Flash Flooding and Lightning. For more information on the Severe Weather Awareness Week, please see the VA Severe Weather Awareness page or contact your local National Weather Service office.