National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Severe Weather Awareness Week For Virginia

 March 7th - 11th, 2022 

 

Please join us in promoting severe weather safety during this year's "Severe Weather Awareness Week". The National Weather Service asks emergency management, public safety officials, local media and Weather-Ready Nation Ambassadors to help join forces in improving the nation's readiness, responsiveness, and overall resilience against severe weather during the upcoming season. 

NWS Wakefield Virtual Skywarn Spotter Training on March 8th at 10 AM and March 10th at 6 PM. Click here to register.  March 7th, 7 pm - LIVE question and answer with NWS experts

 

Submit Questions for the webinar panelist

   

 

Each day this week, a different topic will be covered. Click on the tabs below for more severe weather preparedness information.

 

MONDAY

 

WATCH vs. Warning

 

WHAT's A WATCH??

WAYS TO GET WARNINGS

 

HOW DO I PREPARE FOR SEVERE WEATHER OR EMERGENCIES?

WHAT ARE WIRELESS EMERGENCY ALERTS (WEA)?

Tornado Safety

 

TORNADO DRILL PREPAREDNESS INFORMATION

Statewide Tornado Drill Information

Virginia’s annual statewide tornado drill for 2022 will take place on Tuesday, March 8, at 9:45 AM EST. 

 

Every school, business, work place, and family across the state is strongly encouraged to participate in the statewide tornado drill.

Here are some key points to remember about the drill:
  • The drill will be broadcast on NOAA Weather Radio and the Emergency Alert System via the Required Monthly Test (RMT).  There WILL NOT be an actual Tornado Warning issued.
  • Most NOAA Weather Radio receivers (including the Midland WR-100 that many schools have) DO NOT sound an audible alert for the RMT product, but instead, may have a blinking light on the display to indicate that an RMT was received.  As such, when the RMT for the statewide tornado drill is initiated at 9:45 AM on Tuesday, March 8, 2022, there's a good chance that your NOAA Weather Radio will not automatically sound an alarm. 
  • Since your NOAA Weather Radio may not sound an alarm at the time the RMT is issued, you will want to do one of the following: turn your radio on to listen to the broadcast by 9:40 am and when you hear the alert, simply start your tornado drill at 9:45 AM. If you do not have a NOAA Weather Radio simply start your drill and enact your safety plan at 9:45 AM.
  • There will be no followup statements issued by the NWS to mark the end of the statewide tornado drill.   It will simply be over when your group, school, business, organization, or family feel that you have adequately practiced your tornado shelter procedures.
  • If there is actual severe weather occurring on the morning of March 8, 2022, the statewide tornado drill will be postponed.  The alternate date for the drill is Thursday, March 10, 2022 at 9:45 AM EST.

Frequently Asked Questions

 

1.       What is the difference between weather Watches and Warnings?

A WATCH (Severe Thunderstorm or Tornado) is issued when severe thunderstorms and/or tornadoes are possible in and near the watch area. It does not mean that they will occur. It only means they are possible.

Severe thunderstorms are defined as follows:

        1) Winds of 58 mph or higher

         AND/OR

        2) Hail 1 inch in diameter or larger.

A WARNING is issued by your local NWS office when a Severe Thunderstorm or Tornado is imminent or occurring. Seek safe shelter and observe safety protocols.

 

2. Can a Severe Thunderstorm Warning be issued without a Watch in effect? 

Yes it can. While the majority of the time a watch is in place prior to a warning being issued, there are times a warning is issued for a storm with no watch having been issued. This is usually in a situation where a lone storm or maybe a couple storms briefly get strong enough to produce damaging winds or hail in a localized area, but the overall conditions do not support widespread severe weather.

 

3. What is meant by the Marginal, Slight, Enhanced, Moderate, and High risk categories in the Convective Outlook?

Marginal, Slight, Enhanced, Moderate, and High risks represent progressively larger threats for organized severe storm episodes. These risks, along with their numerical, abbreviated labels, and colors (1-MRGL-dark green, 2-SLGT-yellow, 3-ENH-orange, 4-MDT-red, 5-HIGH-magenta), are based directly on Severe Thunderstorm Risks issued by the Storm Prediction Center.

                            

 

4. What does it mean to be “Weather Ready Nation (WRN)”?

 

NOAA’s Weather–Ready Nation (WRN) is about readying your community for extreme weather, water, and climate events. The devastating impacts of extreme events like record breaking snowfall, violent tornadoes, destructive hurricanes, widespread flooding, and devastating drought can be reduced by taking advanced action, which is why the Weather–Ready Nation initiative is so important. You can get more information at the national WRN site, linked here: https://www.weather.gov/wrn.

 

5. How Do I Prepare for a Tornado? What Steps Do I Take When a Warning is Issued?

 

  YouTube - Tornado Safety (ASL/CC)

     YouTube - Preparedness Videos

  YouTube - Get Weather Ready: Before A Tornado

  YouTube - Get Weather Ready: During A Tornado

  YouTube - Get Weather Ready: After A Tornado

 

Find more information at the following address: https://www.weather.gov/safety/tornado-prepare.

 

6. How many tornadoes occur per year in our area?

Tornadoes per County in Virginia                     Tornado Activity by Month

                      

 

 

 Tornado Activity by Time of Day                  Tornado Activity by Intensity   

 

             

                                                           

Also, The Storm Prediction Center has prepared a series of charts based upon climatology, received severe weather reports from NWS Storm Data, and annual summaries. Their page is located here: https://www.spc.noaa.gov/wcm/#torclim

 

7. I have additional questions on tornadoes not answered here. Where can I look for more information?

Additional FAQ on tornadoes are answered at the Storm Prediction Center Tornado FAQ page: https://www.spc.noaa.gov/faq/tornado/

 

8. What are Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA)?

Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) are emergency messages, usually less than 90 characters, that are sent directly to your phone by authorized government alerting authorities through your mobile carrier. Government partners include local and state public safety agencies, FEMA, the FCC, the Department of Homeland Security, and the National Weather Service. Get more information at https://www.ready.gov/alerts.

 

9. What is the SKYWARN Program?

The SKYWARN program is a group of volunteers that are trained by the National Weather Service to properly observe and report severe weather conditions to the National Weather Service. These observations serve as critical ground truth and are one of the key ingredients to our severe weather warning process. You can find and register for future training classes, see recorded training modules, and get more information at https://www.weather.gov/akq/SKYWARN.

 

 

 

 


Awareness Week Activities

Monday March 7, 2022 - 7 PMSevere Weather Townhall - An opportunity to ask you severe weather question to National Weather Service meteorologist, members of the news media and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.  To participate in this event, you must register in advance using this link.  If you would like to submit a question in advance for the event, please fill out this form.

 

Tuesday March 8, 2002 - 9:45 AM - Statewide Tornado Drill - This is an opportunity to practice what you would do in the event an tornado is moving through your area.  Details on how to receive the warning are included under the Tornado Drill Info Tab.

 

Skywarn Spotter Training - Would you like to learn what weather types classify as severe weather? This class will cover how thunderstorms form and look at the weather types they can produce from strong winds, hail and even tornadoes. It will also cover the numerous ways that spotters can report this significant weather. This class will be offered several times during Severe Weather Awareness Week.  Sign up and register for the class the best matches your schedule.  All classes are virtual.
 
Tuesday March 8, 2002 - 10 AM - Led by NWS Wakefield, VA. To register for this training session please sign up here.  

 

Tuesday March 8, 2002 - 7 PM - Led by NWS Charleston, WV. To register for this training session please sign up here.

 

Thursday March 10, 2002 - 6 PM -  Led by NWS Wakefield, VA. To register for this training session please sign up here.

 

Thursday March 10, 2002 - 6:30 PM -  Led by NWS Blacksburg, VA. To register for this training session please sign up here.

 

Find us on social media:

You can also contact:

Eric Seymour Eric.Seymour@noaa.gov for additional information about Severe Weather Preparedness.