Weather Emergencies

Severe Thunderstorm Watch: indicates that severe thunderstorms are possible in the area. You should plan what you will do and what items you will need should the storm arrive. If you hear thunder outside, go immediately indoors to avoid being struck by lightning. Remember that lightning can strike as far as 10 miles from the storm.

Severe Thunderstorm Warning: means that severe thunderstorms are imminent or already occurring in the area. You should take shelter in a fully enclosed building or a vehicle with a metal roof (not a covered patio, open garage, and not a convertible). Avoid showers, sinks and electronic equipment during an electrical storm. Stay inside for 30 minutes after the last rumble of thunder.

Tornado Watch: indicates that weather conditions are favorable for the formation of tornados in the watch area. You should stay informed about weather conditions and plan what you will do and where to go if a tornado warning is issued.

Tornado Warning: means a tornado has already been spotted or that doppler radar is indicating storm circulation that can quickly spawn a tornado. The campus emergency siren will sound this warning. You should seek shelter in a basement or an interior hallway of a sturdy building immediately.

Tornado Safety

Take shelter in a basement, storm cellar, or the lowest building level. If there is no basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect your head and neck. Do not open windows.

If you cannot reach a stable shelter:
  • Lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands. Be aware of the potential for flooding.
  • Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.
  • Never try to outrun a tornado in urban or congested areas in a car or truck. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter.
  • Watch out for flying debris. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries.