Tornadoes have struck nearly every locality in Virginia, killing hundreds and causing billions of dollars in damage.

Get your family ready for a tornado

  • Know the terms:
    • Tornado Watch:  A tornado is possible in your area.  You should monitor weather-alert radios and local radio and TV stations for information.
    • Tornado Warning:  A tornado has been sighted in the area or has been indicated by National Weather Service Doppler radar. When a warning is issued, take cover immediately.
  • Decide now where you will go in case of a tornado warning.  Keep this safe location uncluttered.
    • Storm cellars or basements give the best protection.
    • If an underground shelter is not available, go into a windowless interior room, closet or hallway on the lowest floor possible.
    • Stay away from windows, doors and outside walls.  Go to the center of the room.  Stay away from corners because they attract debris.
    • If you are in a high-rise building, you may not have enough time to go to the lowest floor.  Pick a place in a hallway in the center of the building.
    • A vehicle, trailer or mobile home does not provide good protection. Go to a nearby sturdy building, or lie down in a ditch away from your home, covering your head with your hands.  Mobile homes are extremely unsafe during tornadoes.
  • Keep your emergency supply kit in your shelter location.
  • Practice a tornado drill at least once a year.

If you are away from home, take these steps:

  • Open buildings (shopping mall, gym or civic center):  Try to get into a restroom or interior hallway.  If there is no time, get up against something that will support or deflect falling debris.  Protect your head by covering it with your arms.
  • Cars and trucks: Get out of your vehicle and try to find shelter inside a sturdy building.  A culvert or ditch can provide shelter if a substantial building is not nearby.  Lie down flat and cover your head with your hands.  Do not get under an overpass or bridge.  You are safer in a low, flat location.

Be ready. Be mobile.

VDEM Ready Virginia Mobile App

Prepare for any type of emergency situation. Find out about disasters in advance with local weather and public health alerts. Locate hurricane evacuation routes and nearby open shelters. Preparing for disasters is one of the most important things you can do for the safety of you and your family. The Ready Virginia app provides you with up-to-the-minute information that affects every Virginian.

Ready VA Mobile