Save the date: March 11 is the Statewide Tornado Drill

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From the Office of Coles Supervisor Martin Nohe

Registration is now open for the March 11 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 three years, 67 twisters struck Virginia. April 2011 was particularly dangerous when 10 people died and more than 100 were injured. Tornadoes are common in Virginia. In fact, three struck southeast Virginia on January 11, so it is essential that everyone knows 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 show a message (or flash to indicate a message) to simulate 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

Here’s a look back at tornadoes in Virginia during 2013:

  • 5 tornadoes were recorded (4 EF0 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 EF0 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).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 inMarch, May, August, September, October and November.
  •  In April, 212 homes and 17 businesses were destroyed; more than 1,050 homesand 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.

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