Getting prepared ahead of spring severe weather season in Central Va.

Today is the beginning of Virginia Severe Weather Awareness Week. The goal -- is to help make sure everyone across the Commonwealth is prepared.
Published: Mar. 6, 2023 at 6:29 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Monday kicks off Virginia Severe Weather Awareness Week.

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management help gets us prepared as we approach the spring season.

“Sometimes people don’t take the watches and warnings seriously,” Jason Elmore, with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, said. “You know, they think that, oh, we’re going to be able to get through. We see this around the country. The significant storms impact communities and sometimes have unfortunate total devastation. And no one ever thinks that’s going to happen in our area.”

Elmore wants to make sure residents of the Commonwealth are prepared in the event severe weather heads our way.

“Spring is going to be here,” he said. “The summer is going to be right around the corner. People are going to be outside doing a lot of activities, and along with that, that time frame, we’re going to see severe weather impact Virginia. It happens every year.”

Knowing the difference between watches and warnings is key:

  • A Watch means that conditions are favorable for a particular severe weather event.
  • A Warning means it’s imminent, and you and your family must take action to stay safe.

“We’re really encouraging people this year, is to make sure you have your local warnings, whether that’s on your phone, you have a weather radio, something like that, to be able to get those last-minute things,” Elmore said.

One way to get those crucial alerts is to download our NBC12 First Alert Weather App. You will get all the important weather notifications right in the palm of your hand.

> You can find the app in the Apple Store and on Google Play.

As we get into the severe spring weather season, you want to go into your alerts tab and ensure that the Severe/Tornado icon is highlighted. That way, you will get any watch or warning issued for our area. Our weather team also provides video updates to help get us through any storms heading in our direction.

Knowing where you are located on a map is also very important. Counties issue watches and warnings, and knowing where your county is will help determine if the storm is heading your way.

“Another essential resource to have in your home is an emergency preparedness kit,” Elmore said, “We want to make sure that you tailor it to your family. Some basic items you would want are bottled water, nonperishable foods, and items like that to keep you sustained for up to 72 hours, but make sure you also cater to your family.”

Being prepared and alert to the warnings and watches is key to staying safe.

Virginia Severe Weather Awareness Week continues Tuesday, March 7, with the Statewide Tornado Drill at 9:45 a.m.