ROANOKE, Va. – Tornadoes -- violently rotating columns of air that extend from a thunderstorm to the ground, can rip apart buildings -- can fling rigs like toys and wrap sheets of metal around trees.
It is a myth that tornadoes don't strike mountainous regions -- an EF-2 tornado struck Pulaski on April 8, 2011, leaving behind nearly 2 miles of damage.
It's another myth that tornadoes don't occur in winter. On February 24th 2016, an EF3 tornado left a 13-mile path of destruction in the Evergreen community of Appomattox County. On April 15, 2018, an EF3 struck the community of Elon in Amherst County. This was the first EF3 tornado in the country for 2018 and it was the first in recorded history to hit the county.
Tornadoes are a force of nature that can strike anywhere, but how do you prepare for one?
- If a tornado warning has been issued, seek shelter immediately.
- Get away from windows and go to a basement or an interior room.
- If you are in a mobile home, get out.
- Grab a helmet, if you have one handy, to protect your head.
- Cover yourself with blankets, pillows and even a mattress.
- Do not get in your car or try to outrun the tornado.
- Now is the time to have an action plan.
Know where to go and what to do in case a tornado warning is issued for your area.
The statewide tornado drill is scheduled for March 19. Take this as an opportunity to run through your family's tornado plan.