Get ready for tornado time!

Thirty nine tornados swept through Virginia in 2008, including the devastating storm that decimated Suffolk. Above, the antique store in Driver, Virginia after that tornado.

Anyone who lived through 2008 knows tornados can whip through Virginia– and whip people into a frenzy in the process. Last year, 39 tornados hit the Commonwealth– including the mother of tornados that cut a devastating swath through Suffolk.

To keep yourself and your family safe, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management has planned a statewide tornado drill on March 17 at 9:45am, which will begin on NOAA weather radio and then be broadcast on radio and television stations. Last year, 340,000 people registered to participate.

If you don't want to wait that long to prepare, since tornados can officially strike at any time of year, the Emergency Management Department has provided instructions for a DIY tornado drill.

•  Announce the start of the drill.
•Participants should act as though a tornado warning has been issued for the immediate area or a tornado has been sighted nearby. They should move as quickly as possible to a previously designated tornado safe area.
•Safe areas are basements, or interior rooms, bathrooms, closets or hallways on the lowest level of a building. Stay away from windows.
•Once in a safe area, people should crouch down or sit on the floor, facing down, and cover their head with their hands.
•After everyone is in the protective position, announce that the tornado has passed and the drill is over.

To register for the March 17 drill, go to For more info on tornado readiness, visit


Nothing better than "scare the crap out of people" media. I'm still scared about preparing for winter. Should I go buy more milk and bread? Is winter over?

First time I've heard of natural disaster preparedness described as "scare the crap out of people." How many lives have been saved because people knew what to do in time of emergency, and actually did it? Hard to tell, since you never read reports of the number of survivors from a tornado, only the number of fatalities.

Outskirts Guy, funny you should mention that! Have you noticed how for the last several years all the forecasts of ice and snow accumalation have amounted to absolutely nothing in Charlottesville and Albemarle County? I have suspected the media of stimulating the local economy for a long time with these forecasts of bad things to come. There's often cursing matches in the grocery stores for that last loaf of bread or last gallon of milk. Lowes sells out of salt and snow shovels. Flashlights and D cell batteries sell out in every store in a 35 mile radius. It's absolutely hilarious!!!