Virginia statewide tornado drill set for March 21

RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia’s annual statewide tornado drill is set to take place on Tuesday, March 21 at 9:45 a.m.

The drill is aimed to prepare Virginians for tornado emergencies and test public warning systems.

The drill will start with a test tornado warning sent by the National Weather Service to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radios. The radios will sound a tone alert and show a test message to show what people would hear or see during an actual tornado warning.

Local radio stations, TV stations and cable outlets will broadcast the test message through the Emergency Alert System.

“Tornadoes can occur any month of the year, and Virginia averages 16 tornadoes each year,” said Bill Sammler of the National Weather Service in Wakefield. “When a tornado watch is issued for your area, know where to seek safe shelter should a tornado warning be issued.”

If there is widespread severe weather throughout the state on Tuesday, the drill will be rescheduled for Wednesday, March 22 at 9:45 a.m.

On February 24, 2016, Virginia was hit by the deadliest tornado event since 1959. Five people died and more than 45 were injured after an EF-1 tornado touched down in Waverly, Virginia in Sussex County. An EF-3 tornado affected Appomattox County and another EF-3 tornado hit the middle peninsula and northern neck region. According to the National Weather Service, eight tornadoes struck Virginia during the storm.

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