Va. schools, businesses, military take part in statewide tornado drill

Va. schools, businesses, military take part in statewide tornado drill

Credit: 13News Now March 2008

March 2008 tornado damage in Suffolk


Associated Press & 13News Now

Posted on March 11, 2014 at 6:45 AM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 11 at 8:05 AM

RICHMOND (AP) -- Three EF-O tornadoes struck southeastern Virginia on January 11.

To test response to a tornado disaster, the Navy, schools and businesses are among those taking part in Tuesday's statewide tornado drill.

In all, more than 1 million Virginians have signed up to participate in the drill that begins at 9:45 a.m., which is a joint effort between the state Department of Emergency Management and the National Weather Service.

At that time, NOAA Weather Radio will broadcast a test warning from the National Weather Service. The test warning will then be aired by television and radio stations.

If you're near Naval Station Norfolk, you might hear sirens sound at 9:45 a.m.. The Navy says the base's Emergency Operations Center will sound the "Take Cover" siren over the Giant Voice speakers. The Take Cover siren sounds like the old air raid siren and lasts for 30 seconds. The exercise will end at 10 a.m. when the "All Clear" signal will be sounded over the Giant Voice speakers followed by an All Clear and Secure from Exercise message. The "All Clear" signal is a 10 second high/low tone which sounds similar to European emergency vehicle sirens.

Many schools will use their notification process including campus-wide e-mail, internet homepage alerts and email alerts.

When the test warning is heard, participants should move to a safe area, such as a basement, bathroom or closet on the lowest level of a building.

67 tornadoes have struck Virginia in the last three years, killing 10 people and injuring more than 100.

Recent tornadoes in Virginia: (from Va. Dept. of Emergency Management)
During 2013:
5 tornadoes were recorded (4 EFO and 1 EF1)
• There were no reported injuries
• Property damage was nearly $72,000
• One tornado occurred in April and four struck in June

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 tornadoes occurred in June (6)

During 2011:
• 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.  

AP-WF-03-11-14 0633GMT