Statewide Tornado Drill to Prepare for Disaster

March 20, 2012

A statewide tornado drill was conducted Tuesday morning to encourage Virginia residents to be prepared.

"Review where you should go, whether you're at home, at school or at work. Find the safest place to go, and actually go through the process of moving to a safe point," said Marge Thomas, Emergency Management Coordinator for the Charlottesville-Albemarle area.

The drill took place at 9:45 a.m. The National Weather Service issued a tornado test warning that triggered an alert. The message was broadcast on television and radio stations across the state.

Being prepared could save your life, especially since tornadoes are becoming a more common occurrence in Virginia. "The three most active years for tornadoes in Virginia have been in the past ten years," said Travis Koshko, Newsplex Chief Meteorologist.

More than 50 tornadoes touched down in Virginia last year, the second highest number on record for the Commonwealth. While they are becoming more prevalent, Koshko says predicting twisters is still a challenge.

"Unlike hurricane season, there is no real designated time of the year," he said. "We tend to see a lot of active weather producing tornadoes, usually in the spring and the tail end of summer into fall."

The results can be devastating. In 2011, ten people were killed and 100 others were injured as a result of the 51 tornadoes that touched down. And more than 200 homes were destroyed in Virginia.

Tuesday's drill is all about preparing for the worst. "In the event that a tornado would come to the Charlottesville-Albemarle area, we want to know what to do automatically so we don't have to think about it," Thomas said.

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