As Hurricane Season Starts, UM “StormReady”

The University this week received the “StormReady” designation from the National Weather Service.

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UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (May 28, 2014) — Days before the June 1 start of the 2014 hurricane season, the University of Miami officially earned the National Weather Service's “StormReady” designation on Tuesday, making it one of about 150 institutions of higher learning to be recognized for proactively improving the timeliness and effectiveness of its monitoring and warning systems for hazardous weather.

“A lot of it is administrative; a lot of it is checking boxes, but the bottom line is it ensures that the University is doing the right things when it comes to making sure that the students here and on the other campuses are ready and all the plans and procedures are in place to mitigate a lot the impacts,’’ Robert Molleda, South Florida’s warning coordination meteorologist, said in presenting UM President Donna E. Shalala the weather service’s StormReady certificate. “You guys really have a good system here. You should be congratulated for that.”

To earn the StormReady designation, the University enhanced both its system for monitoring local weather conditions, and its 24-hour warning point and emergency operations center, and demonstrated it has more than one way to receive and alert students, faculty, and staff about severe weather. It also had to develop a formal hazardous weather plan, which included training severe weather spotters, and holding emergency exercises.

Enhancements to the local weather monitoring system include the addition of a weather dashboard accessible via the Gables campus cable TV system. Available on the new Channel 100 OEM-HD, the dashboard shows maps, satellite imagery and other tools campus public safety officials will use to monitor weather and issue alerts, complementing the University’s existing Emergency Notification Network.

“This is something we are very proud of,’’ Scott G. Burnotes, director of the Office of Emergency Management, said of UM’s StormReady designation. He noted that it took about a year and the contributions from many people in departments across the University to earn it.

They included members of the student Chapter of the American Meteorological Society, the University Police Department, the public safety and emergency preparedness offices at the Miller School of Medicine/UHealth and the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, and facilities personnel from all three campuses.

“Everybody else did the work,” Shalala quipped in accepting the certificate, which she called “really great.”

Maya Bell can be reached at 305-284-7972.

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The National Weather Service’s Robert Molleda, center, presented UM President Donna E. Shalala and Scott G. Burnotes, director of the Office of Emergency Management, a certificate designating UM as 'StormyReady'.

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