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Severe Storms


A watch is the first alert issued by the National Weather Service when severe storms are possible in your area. A watch is issued when the conditions are favorable for the formation of a severe storm. Remain alert for approaching storms, however, you may continue with your routine or any other activities.  


A warning is issued when a severe storm has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. If a warning has been issued and the sky becomes threatening, move to your pre-designated place of safety. Turn on a battery-operated radio and wait for further instructions.  

Danger Signs of An Approaching Tornado  

Dark, often greenish sky; large hail; large, dark, low-lying clouds, particularly if rotating; and a loud roar, similar to the sound of a freight train. Before a tornado hits, the wind may die down and the air will become very still. 

Safety Procedures 

  • If you are outside when a tornado approaches, if possible, get inside a building at once. If you can’t get to shelter, lie in a ditch or low lying area. Be aware of the potential for flying debris and flooding and stay away from glass, small buildings and fencing.  
  • If you are in a vehicle, get out and into a building; if there is no time, lie in a ditch or other low lying area.  
  • Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.  
  • The best protection is an underground shelter or basement, or a substantial steel-framed or reinforced concrete building. If none is available take refuge in other places as indicated below. 
  • In any facility always go to the lowest floor possible.  
  • Stay out of rooms below large roof sections, such as a gymnasium.  
  • If your residence has no basement, take cover under heavy furniture on the ground floor in the center of the building, or in a small room on the ground floor that is away from outside walls and windows. As a last resort, go outside to a nearby ditch, excavation, culvert, or ravine.  
  • The large brick buildings on campus are reinforced construction and should provide adequate shelter.  
  • Consult with the building manager if off campus for a designated meeting place, such as an interior hallway on the lowest floor, during this or any other emergency.  
  • If you are unable to evacuate or have limited mobility, contact your RA, Residence Life Office or building manger to plan for special assistance.