City Hall forced to shelter in place during tornado warning - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

City Hall forced to shelter in place during tornado warning

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Urban settings are especially dangerous during storms because you just can't see what's approaching. At City Hall Thursday night, a public meeting came to a standstill when a tornado warning was issued. 

"I could hear alarms ringing and rain started pounding on the roof," said Bridge Allen. 

He says, he had come to City Hall to hear how the city council committee would vote on the mayor's plan to build a baseball stadium in Shockoe Bottom. "I stayed because I figured city council chambers would be the safest place then they announced that it was."

Briana Collazo was also there. "I actually tried to go out in the hallway and take a phone call but I was told I couldn't leave."

Those on the higher floors of City Hall were either evacuated or moved into stairwells, which is what city officials say, their emergency operations plan instructs them to do in those situations.

At VCU, the university has their own sirens and alert system to notify students and faculty of tornado warnings.

Just down the street from City Hall, Yolanda Smith heard the tornado warning just as she pulled into the Exxon station on East Broad Street at 17th Street.

"I thought I was about to frickin' die," she said. "We were just about to go in and grab something and I heard a rumbling and the roof just crashed right down on my car!"

Yolanda says, she's fine but her car isn't.

No word yet on when the Exxon station's roof will be repaired but as for Richmond, the rules apply here as they do everywhere. If a warning is issued, get away from windows and into an interior room. If you cant get inside, lie in a ditch until the weather passes.

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