Everything you need to prepare for a severe weather event, no matter the time of the year

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Posted at 6:40 PM, Dec 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-13 18:49:50-05

NORFOLK, Va. - It will take weeks - likely even months - for states obliterated by Friday night’s tornadoes to return to a shred of normalcy.

The images are devastating from the air and on the ground. Twisters that hit overnight as thousands of people were asleep - the worst time for any weather event.

That prompted us to ask: What tools do you need to have in place for a severe weather event, no matter the time of year?

We are likely used to preparing for hurricanes in Hampton Roads. When it comes to tornadoes, we don't get a lot of advance warning.

But, as our own meteorologists say, there are a few simple and affordable things everyone needs to have in case of a catastrophic event.

Virginia Beach disaster humanitarian relief organization Operation Blessing is sending tractor trailer loads of these kits to Kentucky and Tennessee this week.

“Our goal is to connect resources with needs on the ground.”

Resources and relief are in the highest demand as heartbreak has taken hold, and the cleanup has just begun.

“Some of those tornadoes had paths hundreds of miles long.”

News 3 Meteorologist Myles Henderson says so far, more than 60 tornadoes were reported with the catastrophic event, killing more than 80 people.

“As meteorologists, it’s our biggest fear that something this bad happens when people are not ready, they are asleep,” Myles says.

Which is exactly what happened across the six states - daylight bringing unthinkable damage and devastation.

“It looks like a war zone bomb went off.”

Myles says for any weather event - hurricane, snow, storm or tornado – it’s imperative you have two ways to get alerts.

“Cellphone – you can use the News 3 app there to give you alerts on any warning that pops up. [You can get the] same info on NOAA Weather Radio,” he says. “That annoying, ‘beep, beep, beep’ - that is what is gonna get your attention and tell you what’s going on and wake you up in the middle of night.”

But before that, he says you need a plan and a shelter escape.

“When a tornado warning is issued, go to lowest floor of your home - interior room, hallway bathroom - and have your ‘go bag’ or emergency kit at the ready,” Myles explained.

He says a weather radio, flashlight batteries, and a couple days’ worth of water and food should be in your “go bag.”

You can download the News 3 app here to get the important alerts on your Android or Apple device or Google Play.

Related: Local disaster relief teams standing by to aid in KY tornado clean up efforts