Severe Weather

Severe weather is a serious threat to our campus. UNL alerts will help to keep you informed of threatening weather. Following a reputable news source, such as the National Weather Service, local news/radio stations, or using a weather radio are also useful resources when it comes to weather. Below are some frequently asked questions when it comes to severe weather and being prepared.



Definition of Terms

Tornado Watch
This means that conditions are favorable for tornadoes to form. Be alert to weather conditions and announcements.
Tornado Warning
This means that a tornado has been sighted or radar indicates rotation in the clouds. Find a shelter immediately!

If you need additional informational posters or have any questions, contact Tracy Grauer at 402-472-3712. Report a non-functioning alarm to Facilities Management at 402-472-1550.

For safety procedures, please visit the Severe Weather and Tornado Warnings page.

Individuals with Physical Disabilities

Prior planning and practice of evacuation routes to tornado shelters is important, particularly for individuals with mobility impairments or physical disabilities.

Supervisory personnel and course instructors are responsible for identifying and escorting individuals with mobility impairments or physical disabilities located in their offices/facilities or classrooms to safety in a tornado shelter in the event of a tornado warning.

The elevators may be used to transport individuals with mobility impairments or physical disabilities and their escorts to tornado shelters. Visually impaired and hearing impaired individuals may be escorted down the stairs to tornado shelters but may require assistance in moving in crowded staircases and in finding the tornado shelter.

In the event of a power failure, individuals who are unable to use the stairs and their escorts should move to an interior location without windows and call the University Operator at 402-472-7211 (dial 0 if on campus), who will notify the appropriate emergency personnel with the location.

UNL Notification Systems

Amplified Voice System

The following buildings are connected to the University's internal warning system activated by IS-Communications that uses a public address system to carry an amplified voice message:

  • 14 & Avery Parking Garage
  • 17th R Parking Garage (UNL PD)
  • 420 University Terrace
  • 900 N 21 (Textron)
  • Abel
  • Abel Sandoz Welcome Center
  • Alexander
  • Andersen
  • Animal Science
  • Architecture
  • Avery
  • Barkley Center
  • Beadle Center
  • Behlen/Brace
  • Burnett
  • Business Services (1700 Y)
  • Cather
  • Chase
  • Dental College
  • Entomology
  • Facilities Maintenance Shops – 942 N 22nd
  • Facilities Management (1901 Y)
  • Fedde
  • Hamilton
  • Hardin Hall
  • Harper
  • Harper/Schramm/Smith Food Service
  • Hawks Championship Center
  • Housing-1115 N 16
  • Husker Courtyards (733 N. 17)
  • Husker Hall
  • Husker Village North
  • Husker Village South
  • International Quilt Studies
  • Jackie Gaughan Multicultural Center
  • Kauffman
  • Kiesselbach
  • Knoll Residence Center
  • Leverton Hall
  • Library Depository
  • Lied Center
  • Love Library South
  • Love Memorial
  • McCollum-Law College
  • Military & Naval Science
  • Modular Lab
  • Morrill Hall
  • Morrison
  • Nebraska Hall
  • Nebraska Union (City Campus)
  • Neihardt
  • Woods
  • Natural Resources
  • North Stadium
  • Othmer
  • Physical Sciences
  • Pound
  • Q Place Gallery
  • Richards
  • Ross Van Brunt
  • Sandoz
  • Schorr
  • Scott
  • Schramm
  • Seaton
  • Selleck #4000-6000
  • Selleck #7000, 8000 & 9000 (dining)
  • Sheldon Art Gallery
  • Smith
  • Teachers College
  • Temple
  • Transportation Services (1931 N 14)
  • Varner
  • Veterinary Diagnostic
  • Watson (1309 N 17)
  • West Stadium
  • Whittier
  • Wick
  • Woods

Tone-Alert Receiver Systems

The University buildings that do not have the internal warning systems or cannot hear the outdoor warning sirens activated by the Lincoln-Lancaster County Department of Emergency Management, will be issued both National Weather Service and the Lincoln-Lancaster County Department of Emergency Management tone-alert receivers. These receivers are activated by radio frequency signals from the respective organizations, and the pertinent weather information is broadcast.

Television and Radio Announcements

When a watch has been issued pay close attention to these broadcast signals and anticipate the possibility of severe weather.

Severe Weather FAQ

Q. When is the statewide test of the tornado alarm systems?
A. The state of Nebraska tests the tornado alarm systems at a specific designated time each year in early spring.
Q. Are we to seek shelter during the test of the tornado warning systems?
A. Yes, all faculty, staff and students are asked to participate in the annual statewide test to familiarize themselves with the locations of their designated shelters and the procedures to follow if UNL is struck by a tornado.
Q. According to the UNL Tornado Warning Policy, there are no internal alarms in my building. Who should I contact to address my concerns?
A. Please contact your Department Head or Chair with your concerns. Questions regarding the cost of installing an internal tornado system should be directed to Facilities Management.
Q. How can I find out who the Building Maintenance Reporter (BMR) is in my building?
A. You can either call the Facilities Management service desk at 402-472-1550 or use the BMR Locator found here.
Q. According to the UNL Tornado Warning Policy, I am in a building with an interior tornado signal; however no one heard a signal during the tornado warning. Who should I contact?
A. Please notify Facilities Management service desk at 402-472-1550
Q. If my building has no internal tornado signal, what can the occupants of my building do to prepare for severe weather?
A. You can follow these suggestions:
  • Contact the BMR in your building and find out if he or she has a BMR pager issued by Information Services-Communications & Operations. If not, make sure your BMR knows how to get a pager. The BMR should anticipate severe weather and have the BMR pager with him or her (and turned on with a fresh battery) at all times.
  • Request that your department purchase weather alert radios to hear all broadcasts of the National Weather Service and the Lancaster Emergency Management office. These can be purchased from any store that sells electronics.
  • Turn on a television or radio and listen to the severe weather broadcasts. Take a battery-operated radio with you into a tornado shelter for up-to-date weather information.
Q. If we do not have an internal tornado alarm system in our building, are we still supposed to seek shelter during the test of the tornado warning systems?
A. Buildings without an internal tornado alarm system need to rely on the Building Maintenance Reporters or weather alert radios for these notifications, and that process needs to be tested. Therefore, yes - all faculty, staff, and students are requested to seek shelter during the test.
For more information, visit http://emergency.unl.edu/departments
Q. I hear a siren every month on and around campus. What is that and should I be seeking shelter during that time?
A. Lincoln/Lancaster County Emergency Management will test all tornado-warning systems on the first Wednesday of each month at approximately 10:15 a.m. The test will end within 5 minutes. You do not need to seek shelter during these outdoor siren tests. Tests will not be conducted when there is a threat of severe weather or temperatures are below freezing.
Q. Where can I find more information to prepare for severe weather
A. Please visit the Emergency Planning and Preparedness website for more information.