Virginia will hold a statewide tornado drill on Tuesday, March 21st, at 9:45 AM.
West Virginia will hold a statewide tornado drill on Wednesday, March 22nd, at 10:00 AM.
While rare across our area, tornadoes do happen. Do you know what to do and where to go? No worries, we're here to help!
In the movies, it is common to see actors getting "sucked up" by tornadoes..while a tornado can pick up a person- this is not the primary threat. The way most people are injured and/or killed by tornadoes or severe thunderstorms with straight line winds, is by flying debris. In severe t-storms, and especially in tornadoes, 100+mph wind gusts can catapult a piece of wood or metal through a window easily- therefore that is the first rule when severe weather strikes!
1) If at home or work: GO INSIDE, AND STAY AWAY FROM WINDOWS. There is really no completely safe outdoor location during a severe t-storm and/or tornado. Having a planned "tornado safe room" at work or home is best. Move to the lowest level of a sturdy house/building, preferably the basement. If one is not available, move to a tight interior room, like a bathroom or closet. You want to place as many walls between you and the outside as possible.
2) If at school: Usually, at least in our area, students will be moved to interior hallways/corridors with very minimal or no exposure to windows/doors. Large open areas like gymnasiums, cafeterias, etc. ARE NOT safe to be in during a tornado. Students and staff should line the walls of hallways in an efficient and and organized manner, and should be instructed to get into the "protect position". Make sure all heads are covered!
3) Having a NOAA Weather Radio, the WVVA Weather APP, or some type of access to broadcast information is very important- not only during, but after the storm. Never assume it is safe to emerge from safe areas until you hear it officially!
4) A sturdy shelter is the #1 safe place to be in a tornado or severe t-storms. Mobile homes and portable classrooms should be AVOIDED in the event of a tornado. If you have time and a tornado is nearby, getting out of your vehicle and INSIDE is the best option if on the road. Do not try to hide underneath a car. It is also a MYTH that underpasses are safe places to be- as winds can be funneled through these areas. As a last resort if outdoors with no nearby shelter, lying flat on the ground and covering your head- in a space away from as much trees and cars as possible will be your best option.