The National Weather Service has awarded Auburn University a StormReady designation for meeting specific criteria in the areas of advance planning, education and awareness that help ensure the safety of the campus community in the event of severe weather.
“We are very proud to receive the StormReady University designation,” said Chance Corbett, Auburn’s associate director for emergency management. “Auburn University takes the threat of severe weather seriously. We promptly inform our students, faculty and staff of severe weather through our AU Alert program, outdoor warning sirens and other means of notification. We will continue to educate the campus community and prepare for severe weather threats that may affect our campus.”
The nationwide community preparedness program uses a grassroots approach to help universities and communities develop plans to handle local severe weather and flooding threats. The program is voluntary and provides communities with clear-cut advice from a partnership between the local National Weather Service weather forecast office and state and local emergency managers.
To be StormReady, a university must meet preparedness criteria outlined by the National Weather Service and state and local emergency managers, including having a 24-hour warning point and emergency operations center; more than one way to receive severe weather forecasts and warnings and to alert the public; a system that monitors local weather conditions; a plan to promote the importance of public readiness; and a formal hazardous weather plan, which includes training severe weather spotters and holding emergency exercises.
“StormReady encourages universities and communities to take a new, proactive approach to improving local hazardous weather operations and public awareness,” said John DeBlock, warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service forecast office in Birmingham. “StormReady arms communities with improved communication and safety skills needed to save lives and property before and during the event.”
StormReady started in 1999 with seven communities in the Tulsa, Okla., area. There are now more than 1,557 StormReady sites in all 50 states, including 48 universities. Auburn University joins Jacksonville State University and the University of South Alabama as StormReady-recognized universities in Alabama.
(Contributed by Brittany Cosby.)