Category Archives: Natural Disasters

Tornado Weather Alert Definitions

On Friday, April 19th Virginia experienced 11 tornadoes–including one in Northern Virginia’s Reston area! Many of us were at home when this all occurred.  We were inundated with news coverage and tornado alerts from the National Weather Service, but what actually do these weather alerts mean?

When these weather alerts are issued, it is important to know the definitions because they should trigger different actions you take. You may need to plan ahead and take precautions,  or you may even need to take immediate life-saving action. The infographic above highlights the differences between a tornado watch and warning. Please take a moment to review these definitions so you are better prepared.

 

Be Prepared – Hurricanes and High Winds

In the final daily September Preparedness Month blog post, we conclude with a video message from Virginia Ralph Northam.

Every year, the Northern Virginia region experiences a varying degree of heavy rains and strong winds from storms, tropical storms, and even hurricanes. The storm’s high winds may even spawn tornadoes—like we saw when the remanence of Hurricane Florence traveled through Richmond, Virginia a few weeks ago.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, with the peak occurring between mid-August and late October. We still have a long way to go until this year’s hurricane season is over!

Please review the Virginia Hurricane Preparedness Guide as well as additional resources on the website including: how to build an emergency kit, and tornado and flood preparedness. It is important to prepare your family, home, and office before a storm arrives.

Be Prepared – Earthquake

Who thought we would talk about earthquake preparedness on the east coast?The 2011 Louisa Quake in Virginia was felt across more than a dozen states and by more people than any other earthquake in U.S. history. An estimated 1/3 of the U.S. population felt the quake, and damage was reported as far away as Brooklyn, New York!

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management provides an Earthquake Preparedness Guide that provides great tips for before, during, and after an earthquake. Take a few minutes to download the guide and be prepared!

 

Be Prepared – Flooding

Floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States, and this is especially true for us in Northern Virginia. Take the time to prepare now:

  • Know your area’s type of flood risk. Visit FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center at https://msc.fema.gov/portal for information.
  • Sign up for your community’s warning system. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.
  • If flash flooding is a risk in your location, monitor potential signs such as heavy rain.
  • Learn and practice evacuation routes, shelter plans, and flash flood response.
  • Gather supplies in case you have to leave immediately or if services are cut off. Keep in mind each person’s specific needs, including medication. Don’t forget the needs of pets. Obtain extra batteries and charging devices for phones and other critical equipment.
  • Obtain flood insurance. Homeowner’s policies do not cover flooding. Get flood coverage under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
  • Keep important documents in a waterproof container. Create password-protected digital copies.
  • Protect your property. Move valued items to higher levels. Declutter drains and gutters. Install check valves. Consider a sump pump with a battery.

For more information about flood preparedness, visit http://www.vaemergency.gov/Floods and https://www.ready.gov/floods.

Be Prepared – Tornado

When you think of tornadoes, do you think they mainly only occur in the mid-west? Virginia has a long history of tornado activity–most recently last week when multiple tornadoes touched down in Richmond and several other Virginia areas. Several homes and business received significant damage and one fatality occurred. Tornadoes are not to be taken lightly!

Seconds count during tornadoes, so make sure you plan ahead. Have supplies in your home. Practice your plan with your family.  You should never question what to do when a tornado warning occurs–you should KNOW what to do because you prepared ahead. The video in this blog post highlights important tips to be prepared.

If a tornado warning  occurs while at NOVA, please follow the procedures outlined in the College Emergency Action Plan.