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Virginia tornado drill set for Tuesday

Jimmy LaRoue
Contact Reporterjlarouejr@vagazette.com

Virginia’s annual statewide tornado drill will take place at 9:45 a.m. Tuesday.

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management calls the drill a yearly opportunity for state residents to prepare for tornado emergencies.

The drill will begin with a test tornado warning sent by the National Weather Service to National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration weather radios.

The NOAA radios will sound a tone alert and show a test message — or flash to indicate a message — to simulate what residents would hear in an actual tornado warning.

Local radio stations, TV stations and cable outlets will broadcast the test message via the Emergency Alert System.

Anyone participating in the drill, including individual schools and businesses, should register for the drill with VDEM. Registration information and resources are available at:http://www.vaemergency.gov/tornadodrill/.

“An actual tornado warning isn’t the time to figure out how to keep your loved ones, coworkers, friends and neighbors safe,” said VDEEM state coordinator Jeff Stern in a statement. “Virginians should use the statewide tornado drill on March 20 as an opportunity to test their tornado emergency procedures and discuss preparedness efforts for these deadly and unexpected storms which can touch down in Virginia throughout the year.”

Bill Sammler of the National Weather Service in Wakefield said 25 confirmed tornadoes touched down in Virginia.

“When a tornado watch is issued for your area, have a plan and know where to seek safe shelter should a tornado warning be issued,” Sammler said in a statement.

LaRoue can be reached by phone at 757-345-2342, by email at jlarouejr@vagazette.com or on Twitter @jlaroue.

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