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Tornado Watch in Effect As Damaging Winds, Tornadoes Among Severe Weather Risks Across Region Wednesday

Michael Campbell February 24, 2016
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TOWN OF WAKEFIELD, VIRGINIA – Wednesday is a time to stay weather-aware as a risk of strong to severe storms has been projected for much of the Metro-Richmond, Tri-Cities, and Hampton Roads area.

According to the National Weather Service office in Wakefield, “The Moderate Threat for severe weather, including the possibility of significant tornadoes, has been expanded west to cover all of Central VA as well as portions of the Middle Peninsula and Northern Neck.”

A TORNADO WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR PRINCE GEORGE, DINWIDDIE, SUSSEX, SURRY, TRI-CITIES, METRO-RICHMOND, HAMPTON ROADS UNTIL 9 P.M. TUESDAY

The risk also exists for damaging winds in excess of 60 to 70 miles per hour. These storms are expected to move across the area through the late afternoon and evening hours Wednesday.

In addition, much of the Interstate 95 corridor spanning from Richmond to the Virginia-North Carolina line is under risk of “possible significant tornadoes,” with the potential of tornadoes that do develop reaching EF-2 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale, capable of winds of over 110 miles per hour.

Given the risk, many school systems have either cancelled after-school and evening activities or released students early ahead of the anticipated adverse weather conditions.

Dinwiddie County Public Schools were among those who cancelled evening activities and, in an interview Wednesday, Superintendent William Clark explained what goes into that decision.

“With weather such as this, we are certainly watching the radar and forecasts,” he remarked. “We also look at our dismissal times and see when storms are expected to arrive, be it before, during, or after dismissal.”

Clark went on to say that every county school has a weather radio in the building that relays breaking weather information. The superintendent added that this week was particularly challenging with making the decision to cancel after-school activities due to spring sports restarting and an increased number of students that will be in school facilities at the projected time of the storm’s arrival.

“There are a lot of [Dinwiddie Middle School and Dinwiddie High School] tryouts going on, so there are probably a lot more students there because of that,” he said. “I would much rather them get home on our buses or with parents picking them up at their regular release time.”

“We want to get them home before it starts to get bad,” Clark said. “It’s no exact science but there have been instances when we have held students a little extra within the building instead of putting them on the road.”

When those decisions are made, Clark said that parents of students would be notified via automated calls, or robo-calls, the school division’s website, or its social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter.

Storms are expected to impact the area between 3 and 9 p.m. this evening. Stay with The Dinwiddie Monitor for the latest information.

Copyright 2016 by Hermes Publications

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