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Building (69) Boca Raton Campus



Public Safety

 Natural Hazards and Severe Weather



What should I know about hurricanes?Hurricane Frances Radar Image

•    Hurricane season starts June 1 and ends November 30th.
•    When a hurricane warning is issued by the National Weather Service, the President or designee may authorize the University to close.  
•    Official closings will be announced by the University to local newspapers, radio and television stations, the FAU Webmaster and the hotline that serves all campuses.

HOTLINE General Line (all campuses):

888.8FAUOWL (888-832-8695)

What are important storm terms to know?

Terms Description
Tropical Depression An organized system of thunderstorms with a defined circulation and top sustained winds of less than 39 mph.
Tropical Storm An organized system with a defined circulation and top sustained winds between 39-73 mph.
Tropical Storm Watch Conditions are possible in the specified area of the watch within 48 hours.
Tropical Storm Warning   Conditions are expected in the affected area within 36 hours.
Hurricane An intense tropical weather system with a well-defined circulation and sustained wind speed of 74 mph or higher.  
Hurricane Watch Conditions are possible within the specified area within 48 hours.
Hurricane Warning Conditions are expected in the specified area within 36 hours.

What do I do to prepare for a hurricane (general)?

•    Review FAU and personal plans to minimize potential damage in case of a strike.
•    Home emergency planning is vital. Make a plan!
•    Monitor news and weather reports.

What do I do to prepare for a hurricane (students)?

•    Monitor the hotline telephone number and the main FAU webpage or University Status page.

What do I do to prepare for a hurricane (residential students)?

•    Create an emergency supply kit, including shelter kit if necessary.
•    Evacuate University housing facilities, if there is an order for campus/University closing.
•    If you are ordered to evacuate and do not have alternate accommodations or require assistance due to a physical disability and need to be transported to a Red Cross shelter,  inform Resident Assistants or Housing and Residential Education representatives.

What do I do to prepare for a hurricane (employees including essential personnel)?

•    Follow your Unit Emergency Response Plan.
•    Monitor FAU information, news and weather reports.
•    If you are designated as an Essential Person, understand your role and responsibilities.



What should I know about tornadoes?

•    The most active months for tornadoes are June through August during the afternoon’s buildup of heat in the lower atmosphere.  
•    No season or time of day is exempt from this powerful and deadly weather phenomenon.  
•    Land falling tropical storms and hurricanes also generate tornadoes.  
•    Tornadoes can last from a few seconds to more than an hour.  
•    The path can be from a few dozen yards to a few hundred yards.
•    Using the actual damage to determine the tornado’s wind speed is the basis of the Fujita Scale (F-scale):

What are important F-Scale terms to know?

Terms Wind Speed Effects
F0 Gale 40-72 mph Tree branches broken off.  Shallow rooted trees uprooted.
F1 Moderate 73-112 mph Peels surface off roofs.  Mobile homes overturned.
F2 Significant 113-157 mph Roofs torn off frame houses.  Large trees snapped or uprooted  
F3 Severe 158-206 mph Roofs / walls torn off.  Trains overturned.  Cars thrown.
F4 Devastating   207 260 mph   Well-built homes leveled.
F5 Incredible 261-318 mph Homes lifted off foundations and thrown.  Cars thrown.

What is a tornado watch/warning?

•    This is issued by the National Weather Service when conditions, which may produce tornadoes or severe thunderstorms, are present or developing.
•    This is issued when a tornado or severe thunderstorm has been detected or sighted.  
•    The warning will tell you the location and movement of the severe weather.  

What should I do during a tornado watch?

•    Continue normal activities, but have a safety plan in mind, and be ready to implement it, if the warning is issued.

What should I do during a tornado warning?

•    Implement your safety plan immediately if you are in the path of the storm.  
•    Take shelter if you see or hear a tornado or threatening weather approaching.  There may not be time for an official warning.

What is a good tornado safety plan?

•    If indoors (classroom, office, other space): Go to the lowest building level (if there is time to do so). Go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect your head and neck. Do not open windows.
•    If in a vehicle, modular building or car: Get out immediately and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building. Modular buildings, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes. If you cannot get out or no other building is nearby, lie flat and cover your head to protect yourself from flying debris. Never try to outrun a tornado in your vehicle. Instead, leave the vehicle for safer shelter. Never exit a building during extreme weather conditions. Lightning strikes are highly likely during these events.
•    If outdoors: Lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head with your arms. Be aware of the potential for flooding. Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location. Watch out for flying debris. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries.



What should I know about lightning?

•    Florida is the most lightning prone area in the United States.  
•    Lightning kills more people annually than all other weather hazards combined.
•    Lightning strikes usually occur close to the rain area and are negatively charged.  
•    The most dangerous lightning is the positively charged ground strike that can occur many miles from the rain area where people are not aware of the lightning danger.

What’s the 30-30 Rule?

30 SECONDS:  Count the seconds between seeing the lightning and hearing the thunder. If the time is 30 seconds or less then the lightning is close enough to be a threat.  
30 MINUTES:  After seeing the last lightning flash wait 30 minutes before leaving the shelter. Fifty percent of the lightning deaths occur after the storm has passed.

What should I do when I see lightning?

•    Seek shelter in a fully enclosed building or car.
•    Stay away from doors, windows and electrical appliances.  
•    Stay off the phone.
•    Avoid water, high ground, open spaces, metal objects and contact with other people, if outdoors.

FAU’s Boca campus has a L ightning Prediction System to warn athletes, participants, and spectators at outdoor athletic and campus recreation facilities when a danger of lightning strike exists.



What are the flood terms?

•    Flood Watch: Flooding is possible. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.
•    Flash Flood Watch: Flash flooding is possible. Be prepared to move to higher ground; listen to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.
•    Flood Warning: Flooding is occurring or will occur soon; if advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
•    Flash Flood Warning: A flash flood is occurring; seek higher ground on foot immediately.

What should I know about outdoor flooding?

•    Urban flash floods often occur in less than one hour.
•    Due to the relatively flat terrain across Florida, it is much more difficult to drain accumulated water.
•    In flood areas, it is difficult to judge water depth.  
•    Water only inches deep can be next to water that is several feet deep.  
•    As little as one foot of water can move most cars off the road.  Just six inches of fast-moving water can sweep a person off his or her feet.  

What should I do if I encounter flooding?

•    Be aware of streams, drainage canals and areas known to flood.
•    Do not drive through the water if you cannot see the road or its line markings.
•    Do not allow children to play in flooded areas.
•    Stay away from downed power lines.

 Last Modified 8/21/20