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UT Receives Federal Recognition as a StormReady Community

Published: August 13, 2009

The University of Tampa is officially ready to react to severe weather situations after receiving a federal recognition as a StormReady community.

The National Weather Service announced that UT is one of 33 colleges and universities around the country that have put special operations in place to monitor and react to severe weather conditions, such as hurricanes, tornados and storms.

“Protecting our campus community in the case of a weather emergency has always been a high priority for the University,” said Rod Plowman, vice president for administration. “And now, with the help of the National Weather Service, our emergency weather preparedness has been taken to a new level.”

StormReady, established in 1999, is a nationwide program that helps communities better protect their citizens during severe weather events. The program encourages communities to take a proactive approach in improving local hazardous weather operations.

This voluntary program provides communities with clear-cut advice through a partnership between the local Weather Service Office, state and local emergency managers and the media.

UT, which has its own online weather station, also has such communication methods as a text messaging service, an e-mail alert system, desktop alert capabilities and a weather radio acquisition program. UT officials have worked closely with campus, weather, and local emergency management officials to meet the StormReady requirements.

In order to become certified as StormReady, a community has to:

  • Establish a 24-hour warning point and emergency operations center;
  • Have various methods to receive severe weather forecasts and warning and to alert the campus community;
  • Create a system that monitors local weather conditions, and promote the importance of public readiness through community programs;
  • Develop a formal hazardous weather plan, which includes training severe weather spotters and holding emergency exercises.
UT joins six other colleges and universities in Florida that have achieved StormReady designation. These include Eckerd College, Florida Atlantic University, Florida International University, Florida State University, Florida State University/Ringling Center for Cultural Arts and University of West Florida.

“Improving our emergency preparedness programs for weather emergencies will be an ongoing exercise to keep current with the latest technology for detection and notification,” Plowman said.

UT will be formally recognized by the National Weather Service at a future event. The campus will receive a StormReady Supporter certificate dated and signed by the meteorologist in charge of the local National Weather Service as well as signs with the StormReady Community recognition.
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