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Updated: 03/23/2016 2:41 PM

The Feb. 24 severe storm system that spawned eight tornadoes, caused five deaths and inflicted damage to more than 400 structures provided a stark reminder that tornadoes occur in Virginia.

On Tuesday, March 22 at 9:45 a.m., the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and the National Weather Service (NWS) will hold the statewide tornado drill, which is an annual effort to prepare citizens for tornado emergencies and test public warning systems.

Christopher Newport University will participate in the annual statewide tornado drill. The drill will start at approximately 9:45 a.m. with a test tornado warning sent by the NWS to National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radios. Local radio stations, TV stations and cable outlets will broadcast the test message via the Emergency Alert System. All functions through Christopher Newport's emergency notification system will also be activated. These include cell phones, landline phones, computer interrupt, email, text messages.

If you are not registered at for emergency notifications, you will not receive these messages. You may register for emergency notifications at by clicking the "register now!" link at the top of the page.

The campus community will take action during the drill by moving to a safe shelter in place location when the warning message is received. There will be individuals in each building to give directions to the safe shelter location. The drill will last approximately 5 minutes; at the end of the drill campus will return to normal operations.

Thank you for your attention to emergency procedures and helping to keep our community safe.

Christopher Newport University's Emergency Notifications System:

There are two primary electronic communication methods.

In the event of a real-time emergency (tornado, shooter, etc...) where students, faculty and staff need to take immediate action, a text message will be sent via this alert system. Other system components such as, email, calls to landline and cell phones, social media, and internal computer overrides may also be used. This type of communication will go to all individuals registered in the cnualert system.

In all other cases where there is not an emergency or immediate threat, information will be sent by email to Christopher Newport University students, faculty and staff via the email system. This notification is intended only for members of the Christopher Newport University community who attend classes or work on campus so that they may make plans regarding their daily activities.