Severe Weather

Hurricane Preparation

  • Tropical Depression—A tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 38 mph (33 knots) or less.
  • Tropical Storm— A tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph (34 to 63 knots).
  • Hurricane—A tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 74 mph (64 knots) or higher. In the western North Pacific, hurricanes are called typhoons; similar storms in the Indian Ocean and South Pacific Ocean are called cyclones.
  • Major Hurricane—A tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 111 mph (96 knots) or higher, corresponding to a Category 3, 4 or 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

Tropical Storm or Hurricane Watch

This means that there is a possibility that you will experience hurricane conditions within the next 36 hours. So stay alert and keep listening to the radio for more information.

  • Know if you live in an evacuation area.
  • Listen to your local radio stations to find out if a storm is coming. You can also listen to NOAA Weather Radio.  You will also be told if you need to evacuate.
  • Click here to see Ave Maria’s emergency evacuation map.
  • As in the past, your Emergency Management team will provide specific information pertaining to each severe weather event if warranted.

What to Listen For

  • Hurricane Season Begins June 1st – Hurricane/tropical storm conditions are possible in the specified area of the watch, usually within 48 hours of the onset of tropical storm force winds.
  • Educate yourself and be prepared for this season. During a Watch, prepare your home and review your plan for evacuation in case a Hurricane/Tropical Storm Warning is issued. Listen closely to instructions from local officials.
  • Hurricane/tropical storm conditions are expected in the specified area of the Warning, usually within 36 hours of the onset of tropical storm force winds. Complete storm preparations and immediately leave the threatened area if directed by local officials.

High Wind/Tornado

  • If a high wind/tornado warning is received, seek shelter immediately in an area that is in an interior hallway or room; at the lowest level in the building; and/or an area free of windows or glass.
  • Protect your body from flying debris with furniture and/or sturdy equipment.
  • Use your arms to protect your head and neck.
  • Follow instructions given by university staff, emergency personnel, and the Mass Notification System messages.


  • Lightning is a significant threat to safety in Florida; use prudence and common sense to ensure safety. Immediately go indoors when lightning is seen, and avoid high-risk areas such as open fields.
  • If you or someone you know is struck by lightning, call 911 for an immediate emergency response. A cell phone is safe to use.
  • Move the victim to a safe area if you are still in a high-risk area.
  • Lightning may cause heart attacks, so check for pulse and breathing.
  • If trained to do so, begin resuscitation procedures until medical help arrives.


If indoors:

  • Drop to the ground; take cover by getting under a sturdy table or another piece of furniture, and hold on until the shaking stops. If there isn’t a table or desk near you, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building.
  • Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures or furniture.
  • Stay in bed if that’s where you are when the earthquake strikes. Hold on and protect your head with a pillow, unless you are under a heavy light fixture that could fall. In that case, move to the nearest safe place.
  • Do not use a doorway except if you know it is a strongly supported, load-bearing doorway that is close to you. Many outside doorways are lightly constructed and do not offer protection.
  • Stay inside until the shaking stops and it is safe to go outside. Do not exit a building during the shaking. Research has shown that most injuries occur when people inside buildings attempt to move to a different location inside the building or try to leave.
  • Do not use elevators.
  • Be aware that the electricity may go out or the sprinkler systems or fire alarms may turn on.

If Outdoors:

  • Stay there.
  • Move away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires.
  • Once in the open, stay there until the shaking stops. The greatest danger exists directly outside buildings, at exits, and alongside exterior walls.

If in a Moving Vehicle:

  • Stop as quickly as safety permits and stay in the vehicle. Avoid stopping near or under buildings, trees, overpasses, and utility wires.
  • Proceed cautiously once the earthquake has stopped. Avoided roads, bridges, or ramps that might have been damaged by the earthquake.


Before an Emergency Requiring Evacuation

In advance, locate the nearest exit from your work location and determine the route you will follow to reach that exit in an emergency. Establish an alternate route to be used in the event your route is blocked or unsafe.

During an Evacuation

Only if time and conditions permit, log out and lock your computer, secure your workplace, and take your important personal items that are easily accessible – such as car keys, purse, medication, and glasses.

Read and understand the following steps:

  • Follow instructions from emergency personnel.
  • Check doors for heat before opening and if the door is hot, DO NOT  open it.
  • Walk, DO NOT run, push, or crowd, Use handrails in the stairwells and stay to the right.
  • Keep noise to a minimum so you can hear emergency instructions.
  • Assist people with disabilities
  • Unless otherwise instructed, move quickly away from the building towards an assembly point.
  • Watch for falling glass and other debris.
  • Keep roadways and walkways clear for emergency vehicles.
  • If you have relocated away from the building. DO NOT return until notified that it is safe.


  • Activate the nearest fire alarm if not already activated and call 911 if possible. If there are no fire alarms, knock on doors and yell “fire” as you exit the building.
  • Evacuate the building. Do not use elevators!
  • Feel closed doors with the back of your hands. Do not open if doors are hot.
  • Move well away from the building when evacuating and assemble at designated assembly areas.
  • Do not re-enter the building until cleared by authorized personnel.