Severe and high-impact weather poses a regular risk to the University and its surrounding communities. Because of this risk, Millersville University has earned a StormReady Certification from the National Weather Service to help keep the campus safe.
“StormReady is a program through the National Weather Service to better prepare communities, higher education institutions, counties, Indian nations, military bases, government sites, commercial enterprises and other groups for severe weather events,” explains Dr. Sepi Yalda, professor of meteorology and the director of Millersville University’s Center for Disaster Research and Education.
As part of the StormReady designation, the University hosts a National Weather Service Spotter Training annually. The training is known as “SKYWARN,” where individuals that have earned the certification can volunteer to provide timely and accurate reports of severe weather to the National Weather Service. The training provides information from the basics about thunderstorms to how to recognize severe storm features to learning how to report them.
The certification is initially granted for a period of four years. After four years, there will be an evaluation to ensure the requirements are still met.
The University has been recognized as Storm Ready since March 2020 and is one of seven universities in PA and one of 307 in the country with this designation.
To achieve StormReady status, the University must meet 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 and to alert 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
Yalda recognizes the importance of the certification for the Millersville community’s safety, “It ensures that we have the structure and plans in place to do timely planning and preparedness to protect all MU community members. MU will also serve an important role for the surrounding community in providing timely information for decision-makers in case of high-impact severe weather. This contributes greatly to the MU community’s safety in the event of severe weather,” she says.