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University of Rochester recertified by National Weather Service as StormReady

August 23, 2022
People walk across a snowy Eastman Quadrangle, part of the University's StormReady campus.(University of Rochester photo / J. Adam Fenster)

The certification recognizes the University’s preparedness to handle all types of severe weather.

The NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS) has again recognized the University of Rochester as a StormReady university for its preparedness to handle all types of severe and potentially life-threatening weather. In 2015, Rochester was the first private university in New York State to be certified StormReady.

stormready logo.Being part of the StormReady program is about being prepared for increasing vulnerability to extreme weather and water events. According to the NWS, approximately 98 percent of all presidentially declared disasters are weather-related, leading to around 500 deaths per year and nearly $15 billion in damage. The StormReady program encourages communities, including colleges and university campuses, to improve their hazardous weather operations by providing emergency managers with clear-cut guidelines.

To be officially StormReady, the University’s Office of Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) confirmed compliance with the following criteria:

  • Establish a 24-hour warning point and emergency operations center
  • Have more than one way to receive severe weather warnings and forecasts that allow the University to alert its community and the public
  • Create a system that monitors weather conditions locally
  • Promote the importance of public readiness through community seminars
  • Develop a formal hazardous weather plan, which includes training severe weather spotters and holding emergency exercises

Among the University’s weather preparedness responsibilities is managing the AlertUR emergency notification system, which is activated in the event that severe weather, including excessive snow accumulation, requires that classes, activities, or other University operations need to be curtailed or delayed. The University also maintains a weather-spotter program, which consists of certified personnel who can actively monitor and report adverse weather predictions or conditions on campus. These spotters can then make advance notifications of inclement weather to key managers (event planners, grounds personnel, athletics, student activities) in support of their operations.

“The University of Rochester clearly demonstrated through the StormReady renewal process that it continues to be a trusted partner in the mission of protecting lives and property from weather-related disasters,” says Michael Fries, NOAA warning coordination meteorologist. “I couldn’t be more pleased to see the University recognized yet again for their efforts by the New York State StormReady Board.”

“The University is keenly aware of the importance of severe weather preparedness and planning and continues to take advantage of StormReady process to validate the robustness of our comprehensive emergency plans,” says Mark Cavanaugh, EH&S associate vice president. “The StormReady program effectively assessed our communications, weather monitoring, warning, preparedness, education, and alerting capabilities.”

There are currently 290 universities across the United States that have earned StormReady recognition, with 15 in New York State.

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Category: University News