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Talking Points April 26-28 severe weather


April 28, 2011

Contact:  VDEM Public Affairs Office



  • A line of severe thunderstorms passed through Virginia last night, bringing possible tornadoes, high winds, power outages, downed trees and blocked roads.
  • Eight fatalities have been confirmed as storm-related by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner:  one in Halifax and seven in Washington County.
  • The severe weather struck several areas of the state, including the counties of Goochland, Halifax, Shenandoah and Washington.  
  • Interstate 81 is open.  I-81 near Exit 29 in Washington County was closed temporarily early this morning, due to overturned tractor trailers and other damaged vehicles. 
  • The Commonwealth has been working through the night to help clear debris and open roads.
  • The Virginia Emergency Operations Center is coordinating the state’s response with increased staffing.
  • Regional emergency coordinators with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management are on scene working with local responders and emergency managers.
  • Virginia State Police are assisting with traffic control and security.
  • Chainsaw crews from the Virginia Department of Forestry are assisting with debris removal.
  • Virginia Department of Transportation crews are clearing debris and ensuring roads are safe for travel.
  • Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster are assisting with chainsaw crews.
  • The National Weather Service has not yet confirmed any tornadoes in Virginia.
  • Several tornado watches and warnings, flash flood watches and warnings, and flood warnings are in effect across the Commonwealth.  Residents should take precautions now.
  • Those who live in mobile homes should know where they would go if a tornado warning were issued for their area.
  • Everyone should stay informed about conditions in their area by listening to local television and radio broadcasts. 
  • NOAA Weather Radio is an excellent source of information, broadcasting thunderstorm and tornado warnings directly from the National Weather Service. NOAA Weather Radios can be purchased in discount stores, boating and marine stores, and sporting goods stores and online.  Public schools in Virginia all have NOAA Weather Radios.
  • When a tornado warning is issued, follow these steps:
  • Go immediately to the lowest level of your building to an interior room or hallway.
  • Storm cellars or basements provide the best protection.
  • Stay away from windows and doorways.
  • Do not stay in a trailer or mobile home.  Go immediately to a building with a strong foundation.
  • If shelter is not available, lie flat in a ditch or other low-lying area.  Do not get under a bridge or overpass.
  • Plan to stay in your shelter location until the danger has passed.
  • After a tornado, stay out of damaged buildings and stay clear of downed power lines. Help injured or trapped people.  Check on those who may require special assistance, such as the elderly, children and people with disabilities.



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