Tornadoes are happening

May 30, 2019

Contact: NOVEC Public Relations, 1-888-335-0500,

MANASSAS, Va. — A number of tornados and powerful thunderstorms churned through much of the U.S. in May and left death, destruction, and power outages in their wake. Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative (NOVEC) asks the public to be prepared before the next powerful storm hits.

“The United States is experiencing the most active prolonged period of tornadoes since the April 2011 Super Outbreak,” reported The Weather Channel on May 28, 2019. “Almost 2,200 reports of severe weather, including 328 reports of tornadoes, have been logged from May 17 through the morning of May 28 in the U.S.”

The Atlantic hurricane season begins on June 1, but powerful storms in May blew trees and limbs on power lines and took out electric service to thousands of people in Northern Virginia. “The May 25 storm alone broke 14 utility poles, damaged nine transformers, and put approximately 6,000 NOVEC customers in the dark,” notes Jill Scherzer, manager of NOVEC’s System Operations Center.

Scherzer and NOVEC urge area residents to prepare now for storm season.

Develop a storm safety plan

  • For a tornado, designate the safest shelter location away from windows, such as an interior bathroom or closet, or the basement. Develop an alternative plan for a disabled family member. Be prepared to leave a mobile home immediately and seek shelter inside a sturdy building.
  • Have an emergency kit ready. Include:
  • Flashlights and battery-powered lanterns
  • NOAA weather radios and other battery- or self-powered radios
  • Fresh batteries
  • First-aid kit
  • Nonperishable food, such as peanut butter, crackers, and canned tuna
  • Bottled water
  • Coolers and ice packs
  • Manual can openers
  • Fondue pot or chafing dish and canned fuel
  • Paper and plastic ware
  • Matches or lighters
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Store in a waterproof file box important documents pertaining to insurance, Social Security; birth certificates; financial records, etc.
  • Charge cellphones in advance. Cordless phones don’t work when power is out.

What to do for an approaching tornado

  • Never try to outrun a tornado by auto or foot. Find shelter inside a sturdy building or lie flat in a ditch and cover your head with your arms. Do not take shelter under a highway overpass or bridge — flying debris could hit you or the structure could collapse.
  • At home, go to the designated shelter in the interior of the house, basement or cellar, or cover yourself with a mattress.
  • If you are in a school, mall, sports stadium, or other public place, get inside a restroom, seek shelter against an interior wall away from windows, or crawl under or near a heavy desk that will support or deflect falling debris. Cover your head with your arms.

What to do if a power outage occurs

  • NOVEC customers should report the outage at or send a text message. (Visit for text messaging instructions.) Or call 703-335-0500 or 1-888-335-0500. Make sure NOVEC has your current phone numbers to expedite power restoration.
  • Stay away from downed power lines and poles, and the area around them, especially damp pavement. Call NOVEC and 911 immediately. WARNING: Metal storm debris hiding live wires can electrocute anyone who touches the debris.
  • Open freezers and refrigerators only when necessary.
  • Prevent deadly carbon-monoxide fumes indoors by using a portable generator, camp stove, or charcoal grill outdoors ONLY.

 For more storm and power-outage information, go to


NOVEC, headquartered in Manassas, Virginia, is a not-for-profit electric utility corporation that supplies and distributes electricity and energy-related services to approximately 160,000 metered customers in Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudoun, Prince William, Stafford, and Clarke counties, the Town of Clifton, and the City of Manassas Park. It is one of the largest electric companies of its kind in the nation.  For more information, visit or call 703-335-0500 or 1-888-335-0500.

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