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Student Organization Applies for Severe Weather Certification at MU

Campus weather service hosts severe weather safety seminar

April 7, 2009

Story Contact:  Christian Basi, (573) 882- 4430,

COLUMBIA, Mo. - April showers might bring May flowers, but as springtime approaches so does severe weather season. As the trend of adopting extensive weather precautions on college campuses emerges nationwide, the University of Missouri is helping keep Missouri and regional residents safe by becoming the first university in mid-Missouri to become certified as "storm ready" by the National Weather Service (NWS).

In order to be considered "storm ready," universities must create an awareness of possible severe weather situations while having an efficient and effective plan of action. According to the NWS, each applicant for certification must develop a 24-hour warning point and emergency operations center, have more than one way to receive severe weather warnings and forecasts, create a system that monitors local weather conditions, develop a formal hazardous weather plan that includes training severe weather spotters and holding emergency exercises, and promote the importance of public readiness through community seminars.

"Thousands of people are affected every single year by severe weather. Several of these cases could be avoided easily if individuals were better informed and prepared for hazardous situations," said Brittany Perrin, senior atmospheric science major and creator of the Campus Weather Service student organization. "The University of Missouri is located right in the middle of the country where the most severe storms are recorded each year. It is time for Mizzou to gain this certification and become one step closer to being prepared for harsh weather, while keeping our campus safe."

As a certified storm-ready institution, MU faculty, students and staff will be able to assist in county, statewide and regional community outreach, including educational weather seminars and alert systems.

Fellow atmospheric science majors and Campus Weather Service members Justin Titus and Ben Herzog assisted Perrin with MU's certification. The purpose of the Campus Weather Service, a branch of the meteorology club, is to introduce an interactive experience to students through the production of two campus weather forecasts each day that are posted on the organization's Web site, as well as audio forecasts for local radio stations.

To commemorate Severe Weather Season, which began March 1, the Campus Weather Service will present the Severe Weather Safety workshop for students, faculty and members of the community at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 8 in Conservation Auditorium. The seminar will include speakers from the National Weather Service, local emergency management personnel and television stations. Photographs and live footage from the storm chase team will be presented, in addition to the official certification of MU as a storm-ready university.