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Old 06-02-2013, 06:35 AM
 
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The recent injuries and loss of life in the Midwest are tragic. NoVA does not get the number of tornadoes that pop up in Tornado Alley, but we do get them. Tornado History Project: Virginia The Midwest is prepared for tornadoes with sirens and shelters. There seems to be little or no planning here. Am I mistaken? As we head into tornado, derecho and hurricane season, can anyone on this board advise of public storm shelters in NoVA/DC/MD?
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Old 06-02-2013, 07:50 AM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ersatz View Post
The recent injuries and loss of life in the Midwest are tragic. NoVA does not get the number of tornadoes that pop up in Tornado Alley, but we do get them. Tornado History Project: Virginia The Midwest is prepared for tornadoes with sirens and shelters. There seems to be little or no planning here. Am I mistaken? As we head into tornado, derecho and hurricane season, can anyone on this board advise of public storm shelters in NoVA/DC/MD?
I doubt it makes much economic or practical sense to have something like that here. You're probably a zillion more times more likely to die in a car crash or from flying debris on the way to a shelter.

Some good advice on what you can do on your own can be found here:

Tornado Preparedness*- Fairfax County, Virginia

Just based on my observation seems most people in this area who die in storms are killed by falling trees, often while in their cars. Stay away from those. Also avoid standing water or low spots where flash floods may occur.
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Old 06-02-2013, 08:52 AM
 
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As a FCPS school bus driver, I am asked every year if I'm willing to be on call to drive my bus for mass evacuations or mass immunizations in the event of chemical attacks. I volunteer to but have never been called. I do recall an instance where our buses were used to evacuate a few neighborhoods near the River during flooding conditions.

Tornados are too sudden and unpredictable for that, IMO. Good thing they're extremely rare around here.
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Old 06-02-2013, 09:10 AM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
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A lot more Virginians have died from hurricanes than tornadoes. That's by far our most serious type of natural disaster.
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Old 06-02-2013, 11:01 AM
 
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I only remember one tornado in NOVA that did any damage to speak of. 1973 I think....touched down in Fairfax and tore the roof off of Woodson High School.

I've seen a few on the water (where they're called waterspouts). They suck up seawater and are visible for quite a ways. If you see one, it's time to shove the throttles to the wall and go the other way!
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Old 06-02-2013, 12:05 PM
 
Location: Alexandria, VA
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Originally Posted by car54 View Post
I only remember one tornado in NOVA that did any damage to speak of. 1973 I think....touched down in Fairfax and tore the roof off of Woodson High School.

I've seen a few on the water (where they're called waterspouts). They suck up seawater and are visible for quite a ways. If you see one, it's time to shove the throttles to the wall and go the other way!
I don't recall what year it was but there were micro-bursts in our neighborhood, quite a few trees down, cars damaged, etc. Also, I recall what I thought was a tornado that damaged sections of Old Town/Del Ray.
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Old 06-02-2013, 12:59 PM
 
Location: Brambleton, VA
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Shelters are available on an ad hoc basis. For example, here is a list of Virginia shelters that were open during Hurricane Irene back in 2011. You'll want to keep an eye on Ready Virginia (they have an app now) since hurricane season just started.

We do have tornadoes here. In 2012, there were 11 in Virginia, with no deaths, and $3 million in property damage. In 2011, there were 51, with 10 deaths. (The most in any year was 87 back in 2004). I grew up in Kansas City so I know tornadoes, but I am always surprised at my friends here who panic every time we have a tornado watch (or, worse, aren't as cautious as they should be and do stupid things). Tornadoes have hit every part of Virginia.

Sign up for your jurisdiction's emergency alert system:

Arlington County - http://www.arlingtonalert.com
Fairfax County - http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/cean/
City of Alexandria - http://enews.alexandriava.gov
City of Falls Church - http://alert.fallschurchva.gov
City of Fairfax - http://emas.fairfaxva.gov
Loudoun County - http://alert.loudoun.gov
Prince William County - http://alert1.alert.pwcgov.org
City of Manassas - http://alert.manassasva.gov
Fauquier County - http://www.fauquiercounty.gov/govern...ction=code_red
Stafford County - http://www.staffordalert.com
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Old 06-02-2013, 03:11 PM
 
Location: Alexandria, VA
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Great post cdmurphy
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Old 06-02-2013, 05:35 PM
 
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Originally Posted by cdmurphy View Post
...We do have tornadoes here. In 2012, there were 11 in Virginia, with no deaths, and $3 million in property damage. In 2011, there were 51, with 10 deaths. (The most in any year was 87 back in 2004). I grew up in Kansas City so I know tornadoes, but I am always surprised at my friends here who panic every time we have a tornado watch (or, worse, aren't as cautious as they should be and do stupid things). Tornadoes have hit every part of Virginia.

Of course tornados have hit Virginia. What I said is I only remember one tornado hitting around here (NOVA), though that one in Maryland a few years ago was close. One can drive 300+ miles and still be in Virginia.

And by tornado, I don't mean a few seconds of rotating winds or however science defines a tornado, I mean a twister that transforms buildings into holes in the ground. In my almost 62 years here, I remember only the 1973 tornado that hit Fairfax. I saw it with my own two eyes and drove around immediately afterwards looking at the damage. The most remarkable thing I saw was a school bus that was picked up and hurled through the front of the ABC store at Pickett Shopping Center. Woodson High was closed for the rest of the school year with nearby high schools running two shifts to accomodate the Woodson students. I was amazed at the damage on Sideburn Rd, near Robinson Secondary....houses were demolished while the ones on either side were largely untouched.

If I'm forgetting a life threatening tornado that has hit NOVA, please enlighten me.
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Old 06-02-2013, 08:32 PM
 
Location: Brambleton, VA
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There were no deaths in the 1973 tornado, which was an F3. There was one death, however, in the 1979 F3 that hit Woodson again. An F2 struck Loudoun and Fairfax in 1996; multiple F2s touched down in Loudoun in September 2004, causing several million dollars worth of damage to homes and businesses. From that incident, here are some photos (not mine), a related story, and
related video.

From 1950-2007, Loudoun County had the most tornadoes in Virginia, Fauquier County had the second most. The National Weather Service says that "some areas in Virginia do appear slightly more prone than others" - one such area being in Northern Virginia to the lee of the Blue Ridge, extending northeast across Maryland into southeast Pennsylvania. Here are some photos from a year ago yesterday that were taken by Brambleton residents and retweeted by Tom Kierein: photo 1 | photo 2 | photo 3.

People who live here need to understand that there is a tornado risk here, probably more in Loudoun and the western part of NoVA, and they need to know what to do and what not to do if there is one.
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