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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

National Weather Service: ODU is StormReady

Old Dominion was recently awarded StormReady certification by the National Weather Service (NWS), recognizing the University's efforts to address potential impacts from severe weather through advanced planning, education and awareness.

The University is the third public higher education institution in Virginia to be certified and one of only 217 universities and colleges nationwide. ODU also received recognition as part of the National Weather Service's Lightning Safety for Large Venues program - the only university in the Commonwealth to receive the designation.

The StormReady initiative is a voluntary recognition program that uses a grassroots approach to help communities save lives through advanced planning, education and awareness. The program incorporates coordinated planning, warning and notification methods, weather monitoring, and community training and outreach to improve public safety in response to all types of severe weather.

"I want to congratulate the University on what I'd say is a job well done," said Bill Sammler, the warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service's Wakefield forecast office, as he presented the official designation and a "We Are StormReady" sign to Jared Hoernig, associate director of the University's Office of Emergency Management.

To meet StormReady program requirements, the organization must:

  • Maintain a 24-hour dispatch and Emergency Operations Center;
  • Have multiple means to receive NWS warning messages (e.g., NOAA weather radios, TV, SMS text messaging, website);
  • Have multiple methods to monitor weather data;
  • Have a means to disseminate warning messages to the community. For more information on the ODU Alerts system, visit www.odu.edu/alerts);
  • Have NOAA weather radios installed in key locations throughout campus (51 installed throughout campus and at all Higher Ed Centers);
  • Perform community outreach through presentations and training for weather spotters;
  • Maintain a detailed hazardous weather plan; and
  • Schedule periodic reciprocal visits between ODU and NWS staff.

Requirements for the Lightning Safety for Large Venues designation, include:

  • Maintain a local lightning detection system (Thor-Guard, managed by ODU Athletics) and have a means to receive NWS warning messages (e.g., NOAA weather radios, TV, SMS text messaging, website);
  • Have a written lightning safety plan;
  • Have a public notification plan;
  • Have a lightning protection program in place (e.g., evacuation and sheltering procedures); and
  • Have an educational program in place.

For more information on storm readiness and other hazards, visit the University's Emergency Management website.