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Severe Weather Warning and Alert Systems

storm clouds

PURPOSE: The purpose of this Operating Procedure is to publicize the function and use of The Baylor University warning and alert system.

1. Policy/Procedure

Severe weather in the form of thunderstorms, damaging hail, high winds, and tornadoes are a threat to the Baylor community. The City of Waco and Baylor University maintains several warning and alert systems for use in the event major storms or other disasters threaten our community. Ideally, sufficient warning time will allow precautionary measures to be implemented. The unpredictability of weather conditions, however, does not always provide for adequate warning.

 2. Weather Hazard Announcements - National Weather Service

 There are four severe weather hazard announcements that are issued by the National Weather Service. These announcements and their definitions are:

 a. Severe Thunderstorm Watch

Potentially severe thunderstorms are expected. A severe thunderstorm contains either damaging winds (surface gusts greater than 75 mph) or hail stones at least 3/4 inch in diameter, or both.

b. Severe Thunderstorm Warning

A severe thunderstorm has actually been sighted or is indicated by radar.

c. Tornado Watch

Weather conditions are favorable for tornado development in this area. Specific time frames for the watch will be announced by the National Weather Service. Members of the Baylor Community are encouraged to monitor weather conditions by monitoring local radio/television stations.

d. Tornado Warning

A tornado has been sighted in the area or is indicated by radar.

3. Baylor University Warning Systems

a. Baylor University has several methods available on campus to provide students, faculty, and   staff with information in case of an emergency. These systems include the following:

  • Emergency public address system

  • Text messaging

  • Pre-recorded phone messages

  • E-mails

  • Baylor website

  • Public Service announcements

b. Upon hearing an announcement you are encouraged to seek shelter, and follow any additional instructions provided to you. 

c. The City of Waco and McLennan County Emergency Management also provide numerous emergency warning systems throughout the city.

d. Tornado warning resident halls: In the event of a tornado warning students will be directed to the basement, or inner halls on the lowest level of the building. Hall directors and other staff will help to direct students.

e. Tornado warning other buildings: If a tornado warning is issued, and you are in another building on campus, remain in the building and follow these recommendations:  Move to the lowest level of the building, stay away from windows, and seek shelter in the inner most portion of the building.

4. When It’s Safe To Resume Normal Activities

a. The Baylor Police Department or other University authorities will announce an all clear over the university warning systems.

b. Please do not call the Baylor Police during a weather emergency for updates, because this will only burden police dispatchers attempting to manage several systems to ensure your safety. Updates on weather conditions are best obtained via radio and television.

c. In the end it is recommended that you stay up to date on the ever changing weather conditions, and devise an emergency plan of you own. Take time to inform yourself, and be properly prepared.