To encourage tornado awareness and safety, Gov. Bob McDonnell has proclaimed March 12 as Tornado Preparedness Day.
Businesses and organizations, schools and colleges, and families and individuals are encouraged to practice taking cover from tornadoes during the Statewide Tornado Drill, set for 9:45 a.m. on March 12, 2013. At that time, the National Weather Service 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 broadcasters, simulating what listeners will hear during an actual tornado warning.
When the test tornado warning is sounded, move as quickly as possible to a safe area in a sturdy building. Safe areas are basements, interior rooms, bathrooms, closets or hallways on the lowest level of a building. Stay away from windows. Once in the safe area, crouch down or sit on the floor, facing down, and cover your head with your hands.
For help in conducting a tornado drill and to register for the statewide drill, go to www.ReadyVirginia.gov. Although registration is not required, people participating in the statewide drill are encouraged to sign up to show their support.
Here’s a look back at tornadoes in Virginia:
- 11 tornadoes were recorded
- Property damage totaled $3 million.
- The highest number of tornados occurred in June (6).
- 51 tornadoes hit, the second highest number on record (87 struck in 2004).
- In April, 10 people died and more than 100 were injured.
- Most tornadoes occurred during April, but tornadoes also were recorded in March, May, August, September, October and November.
- In April, 212 homes and 17 businesses were destroyed; more than 1,050 homes and businesses were damaged.
- Nearly every part of Virginia experienced tornadoes, including mountain areas.
- One-third of the tornadoes struck at night when people were asleep.