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Environmental Health and Safety

Severe Weather Emergencies

Severe Weather Emergencies

Severe weather can include tornado, high wind, thunderstorms, flash flood or winter weather such as snow, hail, and sleet. Severe weather is monitored by CWRU Police & Security Services Dispatch, and the CWRU Emergency Management department. Usually, no action is required when there is severe weather. If action is necessary, then CWRU Police & Security Services will issue emergency alerts through all the emergency communications methods available. Remain calm and wait for further instruction from CWRU Police & Security Services or any other emergency agency on-scene.

Severe Weather Alerts and Action

  • Severe Thunderstorm Watch: Issued when conditions are favorable for the development of severe thunderstorms, which may produce large hail and/or high winds, in and close to the watch area.
    • Action: Continue your normal activities, but keep an eye to the sky and an ear to the radio or TV, and for CWRU emergency communications.
  • Severe Thunderstorm Warning: Issued when either a severe thunderstorm is indicated by radar or a spotter reports a thunderstorm producing hail one inch or larger in diameter and/or winds equal or exceed 58 miles an hour.
    • Action: Review this severe weather action plan. Stay away from windows and avoid going outside. Continue normal activities but be prepared to move to a better shelter, if advised. Continue to stay alert for emergency communications.
  • Flash Flood Watch: Issued to indicate current or developing hydrologic conditions that are favorable for flooding in and close to the watch area, but the occurrence is neither certain or imminent.
    • Action: Continue your normal activities, but stay alert to the radio or TV, and for CWRU emergency communications.
  • Flash Flood Warning: Issued to inform the public, emergency management and other cooperating agencies that flash flooding is in progress, imminent, or highly likely.
    • Action: Continue your normal activities, but stay alert to the radio or TV, and for CWRU emergency communications. Watch for signs of flooding in or around the lowest levels of the building.
  • Winter Weather Advisory: Issued when a low-pressure system produces a combination of winter weather (snow, freezing rain, sleet, etc.) that present a hazard, but does not meet warning criteria.
    • Action: Continue your normal activities, but stay alert to the radio or TV, and for CWRU emergency communications.
  • Winter Storm Watch: Issued when there is a potential for heavy snow or significant ice accumulations, usually at least 24 to 36 hours in advance. The criteria for this watch can vary from place to place.
    • Action: Continue your normal activities, but stay alert to the radio or TV, and for CWRU emergency communications. Avoid unnecessary travel.
  • Winter Storm Warning: Issued when a winter storm is producing or is forecast to produce heavy snow or significant ice accumulations. The criteria for this warning can vary from place to place.
    • Action: Stay indoors. Avoid unnecessary travel. Continue your normal activities, but stay alert to the radio or TV, and for CWRU emergency communications.
  • Tornado Watch: Issued when conditions are favorable for the development of tornadoes in and close to the watch area.
    • Action: Review this severe weather action plan. Continue normal activities but be prepared to move to better shelter. Continue to stay alert for emergency communications. Stay away from windows and avoid going outside.
  • Tornado Warning: Issued when a tornado is indicated by radar or sighted by spotters.
    • Action: In the event of a tornado, or tornado warning, do not wait for instruction. Move to your severe weather shelter.
    • If you cannot make it to the severe weather shelter, try to move to the lowest level possible and find any interior area that doesn’t have windows or glass (i.e. a bathroom). Close office doors as you leave, and if you have any emergency kit already prepared, bring it. The greatest threats from high tornado winds are roof failure, breaking glass, and flying debris.
    • Do not use elevators, and stay away from windows and doors with glass in them.
    • Sit or crouch in an inner hall or room.
    • Do not leave the severe weather shelter area until the “all-clear” is given from an emergency personnel or from updated alerts from CWRU.
    • If someone is trapped or injured then report it to CWRU Police & Security Services at 216.368.3333 and give them as much information as possible.