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Weather Notification

A hurricane watch means hurricane conditions - sustained winds of 74 mph or higher - are possible within 48 hours. A hurricane warning means hurricane conditions are expected within 36 hours.

Make sure you have a battery-powered radio with fresh batteries; a flashlight, batteries, a first-aid kit, canned or packaged food that can be prepared without cooking or refrigeration; several days supply of drinking water (1 gallon per person per day) and a full tank of gas in your car.

Assemble an adequate supply of essential medicines, particularly prescriptions. Go to the bank for cash. Carry credit cards or make sure they are in a safe place.

Watch television, pay attention to Alert HU, and HU Communications, listen to the radio or check the Internet for hurricane position, intensity and expected landfall.

Over a typical 2-year period, the U.S. coastline is struck by an average of 3 hurricanes, 1 of which is classified as a major hurricane.

While hurricanes pose the greatest threat to life and property, tropical storms and depressions also can be devastating. Floods from heavy rains and severe weather, such as tornadoes, can cause extensive damage and loss of life. For example, Tropical Storm Allison produced over 40 inches of rain in the Houston area in 2001, causing about $5 billion in damage and taking the lives of 41 people.


Hurricanes and tropical storms can also produce tornadoes. These tornadoes most often occur in thunderstorms embedded in rain bands well away from the center of the hurricane; however, they can also occur near the eye wall. Usually, tornadoes produced by tropical cyclones are relatively weak and short-lived, but they still pose a significant threat.

Be Alert For...

  • Tornadoes—they are often spawned by hurricanes.
  • The calm “eye” of the storm—it may seem like the storm is over, but after the eye passes, the winds will change direction and quickly return to hurricane force.


Hurricane-force winds, 74 mph or more, can destroy buildings and mobile homes. Debris, such as signs, roofing material, siding and small items left outside become flying missiles during hurricanes. Winds can stay above hurricane strength well inland. In 2004, Hurricane Charley made landfall at Punta Gorda on the southwest Florida coast and produced major damage well inland across central Florida with gusts of more than 100 mph.

If Winds Become Strong...

  • Stay away from windows and doors, even if they are covered. Take refuge in a small interior room, closet or hallway.
  • Close all interior doors. Secure and brace external doors.
  • If you are in a two-story house, go to an interior first floor room.
  • If you are in a multi-story building and away from water, go to the 1st or 2nd floor and stay in the halls or other interior rooms away from windows.
  • Lie on the floor under a table or other sturdy object.


Tropical cyclones often produce widespread, torrential rains in excess of 6 inches, which may result in deadly and destructive floods. In fact, flooding is the major threat from tropical cyclones for people living inland. Flash flooding, defined as a rapid rise in water levels, can occur quickly due to intense rainfall. Longer term flooding on rivers and streams can persist for several days after the storm.

Ways to Stay Informed

Alert HU and Howard University Guardian System

Howard University Police has taken major steps towards improving and making our campus one of the safest in the United States where students can pursue their education, faculty can teach and staff can work in a non-threatening environment.

  • Alert HU Mass Notification System

This system has been upgraded and will notify you of any school cancellations, closings, emergencies, or other critical information which may pose a threat to the safety and security of the Howard University community.

These services are FREE to students, faculty & staff and we encourage your participation in utilizing these services. To register into the system go to

NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards

The National Weather Service (NWS) continuously broadcasts warning, watches, forecasts and non-weather related hazard information on NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards (NWR). The average range of the 1000+ NWR transmitters is 40 miles, depending on topography. For the best performing NWR receivers, NWS suggests you look at devices certified to Public Alert™ standards. These radios meet specific technical standards and come with many features such as Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME), a battery backup, both audio and visual alarms, selective programming for the types of hazards you want to be warned for, and the ability to activate external alarm devices for people with disabilities. Similar to a smoke detector, an NWR can wake you up in the middle of the night to alert you of a dangerous situation.

After the Storm

  • Keep listening to radio, TV or NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards. Stay informed through ALERT HU (see “Ways to Stay Informed”)
  • Wait until an area is declared safe before entering.
  • Watch for closed roads. If you come upon a barricade or a flooded road, TURN AROUND, DON’T DROWN!
  • Stay on firm, dry ground. Moving water only 6 inches deep can sweep you off your feet. Standing water may be electrically charged from power lines.
  • Avoid weakened bridges and washed out roads.
  • Use a flashlight to inspect damage. Never use candles and other open flames indoors.
  • Wear proper shoes to prevent cutting feet on sharp debris.
  • Do not drink or prepare food with tap water until officials say it is safe.
  • Avoid electrocution by not walking in areas with downed power lines.
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