Campus Safety

Severe Weather Awareness

Be Alert to the Onset of Severe Weather

If you do not regularly watch or listen to weather reports, consider purchasing a NOAA Weather Alert Radio. There are many widely available alert systems through local television stations, the Weather Channel, or such Internet providers as Weather Alert or Weather Bug, that you may download to your personal computer. Local weather alerts are also broadcast over any of the Oberlin Cable Co-op TV channels.

The National Weather Service

The National Weather Service issues weather warnings to the public. The following terms will help you understand the severity of storm warnings:

  • Severe thunderstorm watch: identifies a geographic area where storms are likely to develop. Possibility of frequent lightening and damaging winds of greater than 58 mph, hail ¾ inch or more in diameter, and heavy rain.
  • Severe thunderstorm warning: issued when severe weather is occurring or is imminent. Frequent and dangerous lightening strikes are probable along with hail and winds greater than 58 mph. The possibility of tornado development exists.
  • Tornado watch: conditions are favorable for tornado development.
  • Tornado warning: a tornado is imminent, has been sighted in the area, or is indicated on radar. Seek safe shelter immediately.

Oberlin Fire Department

The Oberlin Fire Department uses five weather warning sirens in the community to warn residents when a tornado warning is issued or a tornado is sighted near the Oberlin area. The siren nearest to campus is located on South Main Street. The standard siren signal consists of an alternating siren (ten seconds on, then ten seconds off) for a four-minute period. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) is then activated on Oberlin Cable Co-Op TV stations.

The emergency siren system is only used for alerting the public to impending danger associated with severe storms and tornado warnings. When you hear the siren, seek shelter immediately.

Since the National Weather Service issues all warnings, the fire department does not issue an all-clear signal; rather, residents are encouraged to monitor advent and expiration of weather advisories by standard broadcast means.

The Oberlin Fire Department tests the siren system every month at 11 a.m. on the second Wednesday, from March through August. We do not conduct siren tests during inclement weather to avoid confusion. Listen for the test so you understand what you may hear during an actual alert.

Read more information on the city’s Tornado and Severe Weather Safety website .