Statewide tornado drill prompts having a plan for severe weather

Virginia’s first Severe Weather Awareness Week March 15-19

On Tuesday at 9:45 a.m., expect to see and hear emergency alerts on your television and radio. It’s the statewide tornado drill and it is just one aspect of Virginia’s very first Severe Weather Awareness Week.

This is a time where schools, business, organizations and families can put their plans to the test in case of a tornado so that everyone knows what to do and where to go wherever they are.

Every second counts. Once that alarm goes off you don’t want to spend the little time you do have trying to figure out your options, you need to know where the safest place to be and go there as soon as possible.

“Tornadoes can happen anytime, anyplace, anywhere. We tend to think that tornadoes only happen in tornado alley—Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and that’s just not the case, we have seen them happen here in our area,” said Brian Clingenpeel, the community outreach coordinator at Roanoke County Fire and Rescue.

Clingenpeel is right. In fact, a new study shows Bedford, Franklin and Pittsylvania counties are at a higher risk for tornadoes. Tornado frequency, tornado track and percentage of mobile homes in a given area.

Virginia's Tornado Alley (Copyright 2021 by WSLS 10 - All rights reserved.)

For a look at our article on the study, click here.

Each day of Virginia Severe Weather Awareness Week focuses on a different type of weather. Wednesday spotlights severe thunderstorms, Thursday features flooding and Friday is all about lightning.

Although flooding isn’t something new, with it happening often in our area, Clingenpeel said you need to plan ahead and not wait until the moment you see water rising.

“I think especially if we’re talking flooding to know ahead of time that you’re in one of these flood-prone areas and to start to see about can you or should you get flood insurance, where would you go if there was a flash flood warning for your area, where’s the higher ground, how do you protect your home? All of those things are better to do before the emergency happens,” Clingenpeel said.

He recommends checking out these sites to kick-start your severe weather plan for your family or business.

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