Virginia to Practice Tornado Safety and Test Warning Systems During Tornado Drill March 22

March 9, 2016  //  

RICHMOND, Va. — The Feb. 24 severe storm system that spawned eight tornadoes, caused five deaths and inflicted damage to more than 400 structures provided a stark reminder that tornadoes occur in Virginia. On Tuesday, March 22 at 9:45 a.m., the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and the National Weather Service (NWS) will hold the statewide tornado drill, which is an annual effort to prepare citizens for tornado emergencies and test public warning systems.

“Two weeks ago, many areas of the state were under a tornado warning, and some had to quickly get themselves, their families and co-workers to safety,” said State Coordinator Dr. Jeff Stern. “But an actual tornado warning isn’t the time to figure out where you should go or what to do to stay safe. We’re encouraging schools, employers and individuals to use the statewide drill on March 22 as an opportunity to test their tornado emergency procedures.”

The drill will start at approximately 9:45 a.m. with a test tornado warning sent by the NWS to National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radios. NOAA Weather Radios will sound a tone alert and show a test message (or flash to indicate a message) to simulate what people would hear or see during an actual tornado warning. Local radio stations, TV stations and cable outlets will broadcast the test message via the Emergency Alert System.

“The deadly tornado outbreak on Feb. 24 was a reminder to all Virginians that tornadoes can occur any month of the year. When a tornado watch is issued for your area, you should prepare to seek safe shelter. If a tornado warning is issued for your location, seek shelter immediately,” said Bill Sammler of the National Weather Service in Wakefield.

Registration for the tornado drill is not necessary, but participants can learn more and show their support by signing up at In recent years, 1 million Virginians have signed up for the drill.


Contact Information:
Phone: 804-674-2400

Name: Bill Sammler, NWS
Phone: (757) 899-5732

Be ready. Be willing to help.

Virginia Disaster Relief Fund