Virginia to hold annual statewide tornado drill on March 17

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — An annual statewide drill to prepare for tornado threats and test public warning systems will be held in Virginia on March 17.

The drill will begin at approximately 9:45 a.m. with a test tornado warning sent in the form of a required monthly test by the National Weather Service to National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radios and local broadcasters.

The National Weather Service and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management said in a news release that those participating in the drill — including schools and businesses — should turn on their NOAA Weather Radio by 9:40 a.m. and listen to the voice broadcast. Those listening will hear the audible test alert broadcast at 9:45 am.

Local radio stations, TV stations and cable outlets will also broadcast the test message via the Emergency Alert System.

Officials said residents should use the drill as an opportunity to test their tornado emergency procedures and discuss preparedness efforts. In 2019, 19 confirmed tornadoes touched down throughout Virginia.

The drill will be rescheduled to March 18 if the forecast calls for widespread severe weather on March 17.

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