Finance and Administration - Office of Risk Management and Compliance
November, 2010
This policy provides information regarding the tracking and communication of severe weather-related incidents.
  1. Emergency Operations Center (EOC)
    1. The UAH primary severe weather EOC shall be the UAH Police Department (UAHPD) operations center. This facility is staffed 24/7/365 and has redundant telephone line connections, campus CCTV monitoring equipment, access to local television broadcasts, NOAA weather alert radio, local National Weather Service (NWS) 800MHz broadcasts, and NWS internet radar and weather forecasting products. UAHPD also monitors data posted via WebEOC by the Huntsville‐Madison County Emergency Management Agency (EMA). UAHPD is located in the Intermodal Facility (IMF) which has backup generators. UAHPD dispatchers are trained to activate the UAlert system.
    2. The UAH secondary severe weather EOC shall be the conference room in the Physical Plant Building.
    3. When severe weather is forecast and time and conditions permit, UAH will send a representative (the Emergency Management Coordinator [EMC] or another person as assigned by the Assistant Vice President for Facilities and Operations) to the EMA EOC prior to arrival of storm fronts to monitor conditions and provide two‐way communications between UAH and EMA.
  2. Severe Weather Watches
    1. The severe weather EOC will begin monitoring weather conditions as soon as a tornado watch or severe thunderstorm watch for the area in which UAH is located is issued by the National Weather Service. The following procedures shall be followed once a tornado watch or severe thunderstorm watch is issued:
      • The NOAA weather radio shall be checked for operability;
      • NWS radar and forecasting products shall be brought up on one of the overhead monitors.
      • Local television broadcast(s) shall be brought up on the operations center overhead television and on the operations center conference room television.
    2. The EMC shall begin monitoring weather conditions and be prepared to travel to the EMA EOC prior to the arrival of the severe weather.
    3. Trained storm spotters in Facilities, Housing, and UAHPD will be alerted via phone and text messaging at the onset of a severe weather watch. They will be activated when conditions indicate that severe weather poses an imminent threat to the campus.
      • Storm spotters will be trained annually in the NWS SKYWARN storm spotter program;
      • Spotters will report observed threats immediately to UAHPD.

        Note: In the event that no storm watch existed prior to a warning, storm spotters will be activated by UAHPD immediately upon issuance of a tornado warning that includes the geographic area of the campus

    4. The University will issue a campus‐wide email alerting students and employees of the potential for severe weather and advising them to be alert to changing weather conditions when either a Severe Thunderstorm or Tornado Watch is issued.
  3. Severe Weather Warnings
    1. Tornado Warning –UAHPD will issue a tornado warning U Alert immediately upon one of the following: 1.Issuance of a tornado warning by the National Weather Service for the geographic area that includes the UAH campus; 2.Activation of the campus tornado warning (civil defense) sirens by EMA; 3.Direct observation and report by a trained campus storm spotter or UAHPD officer that a funnel cloud has been spotted in the immediate vicinity of the campus.

      Note: In the event that no storm watch existed prior to a warning, storm spotters will be activated by UAHPD immediately upon issuance of a tornado warning that includes the geographic area of the campus.

    2. Severe thunderstorm/Winter Weather Warning **: When the campus geographic area is included in a severe thunderstorm/winter weather warning the University shall issue a campus‐wide e‐mail alerting students and employees to be alert for severe weather and to be prepared to quickly seek shelter.

      ** Winter weather warnings are the following NWS weather products: winter storm warning, ice storm warning, and blizzard warning.

      Storm spotters, if not already activated at the time a warning is issued, will be activated immediately upon issuance of a severe thunderstorm warning that includes the geographic area of the campus.

  4. Reporting Storm Damage
    1. Storm damage on campus shall be reported immediately to UAHPD at (256) 824‐6911. UAHPD will secure the damage area and contact appropriate Facilities Maintenance personnel to assess the damage.
    2. Storm damage will be reported by UAHPD to the Huntsville‐Madison County EMA and to the National Weather Service office on the UAH campus.
  5. Storm Spotter Training
    1. UAH will ensure that storm spotters are trained annually and are available in UAHPD, University Housing, and Facilities.
The Office of Emergency Preparedness is responsible for the review of this policy every five years (or whenever circumstances require).

Severe Weather Operations Plan Policy