Cover Photo Image

Get your family ready for a tornado

  • Know the terms:
    • Tornado Watch: A tornado is possible in your area.  You should monitor weather-alert radios and local radio and TV stations for information.
    • Tornado Warning: A tornado has been sighted in the area or has been indicated by National Weather Service Doppler radar. When a warning is issued, take cover immediately.
  • Decide now where you will go in case of a tornado warning.  Keep this safe location uncluttered.
    • Storm cellars or basements give the best protection.
    • If an underground shelter is not available, go into a windowless interior room, closet or hallway on the lowest floor possible.
    • Stay away from windows, doors and outside walls. Go to the center of the room.  Stay away from corners because they attract debris.
    • If you are in a high-rise building, you may not have enough time to go to the lowest floor.  Pick a place in a hallway in the center of the building.
    • A vehicle, trailer or mobile home does not provide good protection. Go to a nearby sturdy building, or lie down in a ditch away from your home, covering your head with your hands.  Mobile homes are extremely unsafe during tornadoes.
  • Keep your emergency supply kit in your shelter location.
  • Practice a tornado drill at least once a year.

If you are away from home, take these steps:

  • Open buildings (shopping mall, gym or civic center):  Try to get into a restroom or interior hallway.  If there is no time, get up against something that will support or deflect falling debris.  Protect your head by covering it with your arms.
  • Cars and trucks: Get out of your vehicle and try to find shelter inside a sturdy building.  A culvert or ditch can provide shelter if a substantial building is not nearby.  Lie down flat and cover your head with your hands.  Do not get under an overpass or bridge.  You are safer in a low, flat location.

Tornado History in Virginia

Tornadoes have struck nearly every locality in Virginia, killing hundreds and causing billions of dollars in damage.

Back to Top