Dec. 4, 2015

Winter is coming, but Cornell is StormReady

Cornell receives Storm Ready award
Robert Barker/University Photography
Staff from a number of Cornell offices played a key role in the certification process and manage Cornell's monitoring, communication and responding to weather events. From left: Nathan Hunter, Frank Cantone, Linda Mikula, Ben Kuo, Lynette Loper, Mark Conrad, Katherine Hawley (National Weather Service meteorologist), Dan Maas, Kyu Whang, Carolina Bieri ’16, Chad Lazar, Kristin Hopkins.
Dan Maas
Robert Barker/University Photo
Dan Maas thanks campus partners at the StormReady recognition.

The National Weather Service recognized Cornell for its commitment to weather preparedness Dec. 1.

At a ceremony held in Clark Hall, Katherine Hawley, meteorologist for the National Weather Service forecast office in Binghamton, New York, presented Cornell officials with a certificate and sign that designated Cornell a “StormReady University.”

“This is a very important accomplishment for Cornell University,” said Hawley. “The Ithaca area has a long history of severe weather, snowstorms, floods and even a few tornadoes. Cornell has taken all the necessary steps to be better prepared for whatever Mother Nature has in store. These efforts will no doubt make the university safer and even save lives in the future.”

The program helps community leaders and residents prepare for hazardous weather and flooding.

“The partnership with the National Weather Service enables Cornell University to better prepare for weather-related events that could impact our students, faculty and staff,” said Dan Maas, Cornell emergency manager. “It complements our communication efforts on severe weather preparedness and offers us a partner we can look to for additional information in a time of crisis.”

“StormReady” universities commit to implement infrastructure and systems needed to save lives and protect property when severe weather strikes. To be recognized as “StormReady,” a university must maintain a 24-hour emergency operations center; have more than one way to receive National Weather Service warnings and to alert the public; monitor local weather and flood conditions; conduct preparedness programs; and ensure hazardous weather and flooding are addressed in formal emergency management plans, which include training SKYWARN volunteer weather spotters and holding emergency exercises.

Among its many emergency preparedness responsibilities, Cornell’s Office of Emergency Management and Business Continuity supports campus departments in the development of plans to continue services during times of crisis, and partners with Cornell Police for the CornellALERT emergency notification system.

The office collaborates with campus units to help prepare for, evaluate and respond to hazardous weather conditions and other emergencies. Key partners include:

  • Infrastructure Properties and Planning evaluates weather events, determines their potential impacts and makes decisions about changes to campus operations;
  • Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences provides weather monitoring tools;
  • Cornell Police assists with weather monitoring and the emergency notification process;
  • University Communications assists with emergency and awareness message development; and
  • The Cornell Chapter of the American Meteorological Society conducts public education and awareness activities.

The Office of Emergency Management and Business Continuity also has developed a comprehensive emergency website that not only includes winter weather advice but the Emergency Action Guide, with information about what to do in case of an active shooter, bomb threat, fire, building evacuation, workplace violence and other crises.

The Office of Emergency Management and Business Continuity is part of the Department of Environmental Health and Safety and can be reached at ehsem@cornell.edu or 607-255-8200.