Severe weather, including possible tornadoes, expected on Wednesday

Shelters are available on campus.


Zach Johnson | @ZachJohnsonCW, Assistant News Editor

The University encouraged students to stay aware of the potentially severe weather in the forecast Wednesday evening through Thursday morning. The forecast shows moderate risk of tornadoes and damaging winds, which means powerful tornadoes, up to 80 miles per hour winds and golf ball-sized hail are possible in the area. 

Weather alerts will be issued through the UA Safety App, and a UA Alert will be sent if a tornado watch or warning is issued for the campus area. Students can update their contact information in myBama. 

Normal operations, including classes, will continue until a tornado warning is issued. 

There are seven on-campus storm shelters, though two of them are not open for general use. Masks are required in University shelters and everyone is asked to practice social distancing as possible.

The East Campus Storm Shelter is currently reserved for residents of Capstone Village, while the Capstone Parking Deck shelter is reserved for students and employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 and those who have been told to quarantine. 

Shelters in the Robert E. Witt Student Activity Center, John England Jr. Hall, North Lawn Hall and the North Engineering Research Center are open to all students, though some classrooms that double as shelters may be closed until a tornado warning is issued. 

The Magnolia Parking Deck shelter is pet-friendly

A complete list of shelters for Greek houses, academic buildings, parking decks and other buildings on campus can be found on the Office of Emergency Management’s website. The best available refuge area (BARA) in each building can be found on the building’s emergency plan near building exits, as well as on the UA Safety mobile app. 

Shelters are available to students living both on or off campus. Once the University declares a tornado watch, parking tickets are only issued for safety violations. Students are encouraged to use any legal parking in proximity to a shelter or refuge area. 

On Monday, the National Weather Service’s office in Birmingham placed central Alabama under an “enhanced” risk for severe weather through Thursday morning. The risk level was elevated to “moderate” for all but a few counties in the southeast region.

Governor Kay Ivey declared a state of emergency on Tuesday evening for all 67 counties in Alabama.