Registration is now open for the March 12 Statewide Tornado Drill. Businesses and organizations, schools and colleges, and families and individuals can practice taking cover from tornadoes by participating in this annual safety exercise, set for 9:45 a.m.
“During the past two years, 62 twisters hit Virginia,” said Michael Cline, state coordinator for emergency management. “In fact, in 2011 we had the second highest number on record. Ten people were killed and more than 100 were injured. More than 210 homes were destroyed. It’s critically important that everyone know what to do when a tornado warning is issued.”
The annual drill is a joint effort of the National Weather Service and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.
To start the drill, at approximately 9:45 a.m., a test tornado warning will be sent by the NWS to NOAA Weather Radios. These radios will sound a tone alert and message, or flash to indicate a message, simulating what people will hear or see during an actual tornado warning. The test message then will be broadcast by many local radio and TV stations.
Registration for the Statewide Tornado Drill is not required, but residents are encouraged to sign up to show their support. Learn more about tornado safety, how to hold a drill, and how to register for the drill at www.vaemergency.gov/readyvirginia/stayinformed/tornadoes.
Here’s a look back at tornadoes in Virginia during 2012:
• 11 tornadoes were recorded (8 EFO and 3 EF1).
• There were no deaths, but six people were injured.
• 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.