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Severe Weather

Oklahoma weather can be volatile. You need to be aware of your surroundings and the weather conditions at all times. During a severe weather event, you are responsible for finding a safe place to shelter during the storm. Be sure to 1) listen to local radio, 2) watch local television stations, or 3) use a weather app for current weather reports for Stillwater. Also, make sure your phone is charged—in the event that the OSU area is under a tornado warning—to receive automatic CowboyAlerts that are sent.


About Outdoor Warning Sirens

  • The City of Stillwater tests the outdoor warning sirens on the first Tuesday of every month at 11:30 a.m. If the weather is stormy that day, they will not test the sirens. Outdoor warning sirens are intended to alert people outside to take cover from the storm. For alerts indoors, consider getting NOAA Weather Radio. It is like a smoke detector for severe weather.
  • Campus tornado sirens will sound off in a three- to five-minute blast when there is a tornado warning. A second blast indicates a second or repeated warning.
  • Neither siren system uses an all-clear alert.
  • If you need assistance or accommodation, contact the OSU Police Department at (405)744- 6523.

What to do during a severe weather event

  • When you first hear the weather sirens…
    • If the sirens are sounding, it is too late to seek another shelter. Go to the lowest floor you can in the building you are currently in. Don't leave for another building.
    • Look for a room without windows or exterior walls.
    • Put as many walls between you and the outside as possible.
    • A good choice is a community lounge, community bathroom or a personal bathroom in the basement. Otherwise, find an interior room or hallway.
  • Rooms to avoid
    • Avoid being in large, open areas that have exterior windows, doors and walls, such as the Kerr-Drummond Mezzanine.
    • Stay away from glass.
  • Once you find a room to shelter in…
    • Sit on the floor with your back to the wall or in the middle of the room.
    • Get under a sturdy piece of furniture, such as a table or desk.
    • If a storm strikes, put your head between your knees and cover the back of your head with your hands.

Map: Severe Weather Refuge Locations on OSU campus.

Community Style Halls

University Commons, Iba , Parker, Stout, and Wentz Halls
  1. Do not stay in your room. Instead, move to the lowest level possible in the building.
  2. Find a windowless floor lounge or bathroom and close the doors.
  3. If there is not enough room in the lounge, close the room doors and begin to line the interior hallways.
  4. Stay close to the walls furthest from the buildings’ exteriors.
  5. Crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing down, and cover your head with your hands.


Allen, Bennett, Booker, Jones, Patchin, Stinchcomb, Villages, and Zink Halls
  1. Move to an interior hallway (i.e. one as far as possible from windows). Make sure that all room doors are closed. If leaving your room is not possible, move into your unit’s bathroom. Note: Take something to cover yourself with to serve as protection from shattered glass.
  2. Crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing down, and cover your head with your hands, a blanket or jacket.


Family and Graduate Student Housing, Bost, Davis, Friend, Kamm, Morsani, Peterson, Smith, and Young Halls
  1. Do not leave your apartment. This is risky, as you expose yourself both to the dangerous weather and the possibility of not being able to get into a lower apartment.
  2. Once in an apartment, move into the bathroom, or space permitting, the interior room.
  3. Crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing down, and cover your head with your hands. A blanket, jacket, etc. is preferable for head covering, but your hands will suffice.


  • Look for shelter in the closest building.
  • If entering a building is not possible, look for a ditch or another low-lying area.
  • Stay away from anything that may fall and cause harm, for example, trees, power lines, etc.
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