Monday, March 6, 2017

Episode 358 (3-6-17): Tornado Preparedness and Virginia’s Statewide Tornado Drill


CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (4:13)

Transcript of audio, notes on the audio, photos, and additional information follow below.

All Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 3-3-17.


TRANSCRIPT OF AUDIO

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of March 6, 2017.

SOUNDS – ~ 5 sec – Thunderstorm

This week we feature a severe-weather mystery sound. Have a listen for about 20 seconds, and see if you can guess what this sound might mean on a warm, stormy day or night, any time of year.

SOUNDS - ~ 20 sec

If you guessed a tornado warning, you’re right!  You heard Virginia Tech’s warning siren, first during Virginia’s 2011 statewide tornado drill, and then—along with rain and thunder—during a real tornado-warning for the Blacksburg area in the early morning of April 28, 2011.

In 2017, March 21 at 9:45 a.m. is the date and time for Virginia’s tornado drill.  During the drill, the National Weather Service will send a test warning over NOAA Weather Radios, simulating what people would receive during an actual tornado warning.  Local media will also broadcast the test message over the Emergency Alert System.  The drill is a chance for schools, agencies, businesses, and families to learn about tornadoes and to practice tornado-emergency plans. Information about the drill, including how to register a local event, is available from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, online at vaemergency.gov.

Whether by siren, broadcast, cell phone, or some other way, if you receive an actual tornado warning for your location, here’s what Virginia emergency managers recommend you do:
*Take shelter in the nearest substantial building, specifically in the basement or on the lowest floor in a windowless, interior room.
*Be ready to protect your body from flying debris with a mattress, pillows, or other material.
*DON’T stay in a car or a mobile home; instead, quickly seek a substantial building.
*If you can’t get to a building as a tornado approaches, DON’T stay under a bridge or overpass; instead, lie flat in a ditch or some other low spot and cover your head with your hands. In such a place, be alert for rising water.
*DO monitor conditions on a mobile device, weather radio, or other information source, and stay in your safe location until the danger has passed.

Between 1951 and 2015, Virginia experienced 680 reported tornadoes, occurring in all regions of the state and in every month of the year; and at least eight twisters touched down in Virginia on February 24, 2016, killing four people.  So please, make a plan, stay informed, and be tornado ready!

SHIP’S BELL

For more Virginia water sounds, music, and information, visit us online at virginiawaterradio.org, or call us at (540) 231-5463.  Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment.  Thanks to Ben Cosgrove for his version of “Shenandoah” to open and close the show.   In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.

AUDIO NOTES AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This episode is an update of previous episodes on tornado preparedness (Episodes 102, 3-13-12; 204, 3-10-14; and 256, 3-9-15).  The audio files for those episodes have been archived.

Click here if you’d like to hear the full version (2 min./22 sec.) of the Ben Cosgrove's “Shenandoah” arrangement/performance that opens and closes this episode.  More information about Mr. Cosgrove is available online at http://www.bencosgrove.com.

PHOTOS
Heavily damaged house in Pulaski, Virginia, on April 14, 2011, following an April 8 tornado in the area.
Sign marking an area in the Virginia Tech Squires Student Center designated as an emergency shelter for hazardous weather, March 19, 2015.

EXTRA INFORMATION ON TORNADO PREPAREDNESS

Following is the tornado preparedness information available from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management online at http://www.vaemergency.gov/prepare-recover/threat/tornadoes/, as of 3/3/17.

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
See http://www.vaemergency.gov/prepare-recover/emergency-supply-kit/ for details on preparing a kit.

Practice a tornado drill at least once a year.
See “How to Conduct a Tornado Drill,” online at http://www.vaemergency.gov/emergency-management-community/emergency-management-resources/tornado-drill/.

If You Are Away From Home, Take These Steps
If in 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.

If in cars of 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.

SOURCES

Used in Audio

National Weather Service, “Weather and Water Preparedness Events Calendar,” online at http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/severeweather/severewxcal.shtml; and “Weather Safety,” online at http://www.weather.gov/safety.

Tornado History Project, online at http://www.tornadohistoryproject.com/tornado/Virginia/map.  The site has information on the location and timing of tornadoes in Virginia since 1951.  The site states that their maps are based on data from the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center; that center’s home page is http://www.spc.noaa.gov/.

Virginia Department of Emergency Management’s (VDEM):
“History: Virginia Tornadoes,” online at http://www.vaemergency.gov/news-local/tornado-history/;
“Statewide Drills,” online at http://www.vaemergency.gov/news-local/statewide-drills/;
“Tornadoes”, online at http://www.vaemergency.gov/readyvirginia/stayinformed/tornadoes, and
“Prepare & Recover,” online at http://www.vaemergency.gov/prepare-recover/;
VDEM contact information: phone (804) 897-6500; e-mail: pio@vdem.virginia.gov.

Washington Post, Eight tornadoes touched down in Virginia in Wednesday’s deadly outbreak, 2/26/16.

Weather Underground, “Tornadoes: Fact vs. Myth,” online at https://www.wunderground.com/resources/severe/tornado_myths.asp.

For More Information about Severe Weather and Weather Preparedness

American Red Cross, “Prepare for Emergencies,” online at http://www.redcross.org/prepare; or contact your local chapter.

Federal Emergency Management Agency, “Prepare for Emergencies,” online at https://www.ready.gov/prepare-for-emergencies.

Kevin Myatt,
Weather Journal: Tornadoes off to big start after slow year,Roanoke Times, 4/4/17.

Virginia Department of Emergency Management, Ready Virginia Mobile App, available online at http://www.vaemergency.gov/prepare-recover/ready-virginia-mobile-app/.

Virginia Tech News Release, Virginia Tech to participate in statewide tornado drill March 17, 3/6/15.

Virginia Water Central News Grouper posts on news, events, and information resources relevant to severe weather, online at https://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/?s=severe+weather.

RELATED VIRGINIA WATER RADIO EPISODES

All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/p/index.html).  See particularly the “Weather/Natural Disasters” subject category.

For another episode on tornadoes, please see Episode 342 (11-14-16), Tornado Research through Virtual Reality at Virginia Tech’s “Cube.”

STANDARDS OF LEARNING (SOLs) FOR VIRGINIA TEACHERS

The episode may help with the following Virginia 2010 Science SOLs:

Grades K-6 Interrelationships in Earth/Space Systems Theme
2.6 – identification of common storms and other weather phenomena.
4.6 – weather conditions, phenomena, and measurements.
6.6 – properties of air and structure of Earth’s atmosphere; including weather topics.

Earth Science Course
ES.12 – weather and climate.

The episode may also help with the following Virginia 2008 Social Studies SOLs:

Civics and Economics Course
CE.6 – government at the national level.
CE.7 – government at the state level.
CE.8 – government at the local level.
CE.9 – public policy at local, state, and national levels.

World Geography Course
WG.2 - how selected physical and ecological processes shape the Earth’s surface, including climate, weather, and how humans influence their environment and are influenced by it.

Government Course
GOVT.8 – state and local government organization and powers.
GOVT.9 – public policy at local, state, and national levels.

The episode may also help with the following Virginia 2015 Social Studies SOLs, which become effective in the 2017-18 school year:

Civics and Economics Course
CE.6 – government at the national level.
CE.7 – government at the state level.
CE.8 – government at the local level.
CE.10 – public policy at local, state, and national levels.

World Geography Course
WG.2 - how selected physical and ecological processes shape the Earth’s surface, including climate, weather, and how humans influence their environment and are influenced by it.

Government Course
GOVT.8 – state and local government organization and powers.
GOVT.9 – public policy at local, state, and national levels.

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/.