Tornado Preparedness

Go Low, Stay Low - Preparedness


Have a family tornado plan in place, based on the kind of home you live in. Have a NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radio (preferably with Specific Message Encoding S.A.M.E. capability) with battery back-up to alert you of weather watches ans warnings.

Know the Signs of a Tornado


  • Blue-green to white flashes at ground level
  • Go to the lowest floor, small center room (like a bathroom or closet), under a stairwell, or in an interior hallway with no windows
  • Hail or heavy rain followed by either dead calm or a fast
  • Intense wind shift, loud, continuous roar or rumble, which doesn't fade in a few seconds like thunder, and at night look for small, bright
  • Strong, persistent rotation in the cloud base
  • Whirling dust or debris on the ground
Crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing down; and cover your head with your hands and avoid windows. Localities on the Virginia Peninsula including York County do not use warning sirens to alert residents of Tornado Watches, Warnings, and/or imminent hazardous weather threats.

Sirens are primarily used in this region to alert residents of emergencies at nuclear power stations, as well as at some college and university campuses, industrial and government facilities and military installations as a warning mechanism for various emergencies, including tornado warnings.

Siren Test


The warning sirens around the Surry Power Station are tested quarterly (typically on the second Wednesday of March, June, September and December). During these routine tests, the alerting signal produced by the sirens is a steady tone that lasts for three minutes. The alerting signal for an actual emergency will be 4 separate 3-minute activation's, each separated by 1 minute of silence.

The warning sirens located at college and university campuses, industrial and government facilities and military installations are periodically tested. These tests are typically publicized by local media sources prior to the actual date of the test.