Orange County under tornado watch

May 1, 2011

Orange County under tornado watch

05/24/11, 4:55 p.m.

The National Weather Services has issued a TORNADO WATCH IN ORANGE COUNTY.

That means conditions are favorable for tornadoes and severe thunderstorms in and close to the watch area. The weather service says people in these areas should be on the lookout for threatening weather conditions and listen for later statements and possible warnings.

The weather service updates this information regularly, so be sure to check the National Weather Service website listing the current status of watches, warnings or advisories for Orange County at

The University will not send additional text, e-mail or other notifications to the campus community about a tornado watch since the status of those often change frequently during the a weather event. If a new weather pattern enters the area that prompts a fresh watch after a 24-hour period, the University plans to reissue the watch notice as part of the ongoing monitoring efforts for potential serious weather conditions.

When Orange County is placed under a tornado warning, the University will activate the emergency sirens for an imminent, life-threatening emergency. Alert Carolina will send a text message to registered cell phones and start other notifications including campus e-mail.

For a tornado warning, you need to be prepared to take the following actions if the watch is elevated to a tornado warning in our area:

  •     Seek shelter immediately.
  •     Move to an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building.
  •     Avoid windows.
  •     If no shelter is available, lie down in a low-lying area.
  •     Protect yourself from flying debris.

When the sirens sound, they also broadcast short pre-recorded voice messages. When the threat is over, the sirens will sound again with a different tone to announce along with the voice message:  "All clear. Resume normal activities." Click here for an audio sample of the siren emergency tone. Click here to hear "all clear."

The sirens, which are designed to be heard outside, are located at Hinton James Residence Hall off Manning Drive; the Gary R. Tomkins Chilled Water Operations Center behind the Dogwood Parking Deck; Winston Residence Hall at the corner of Raleigh Street and South Road; near Hill Hall behind University Methodist Church; and next to University buildings.

In an emergency, the University will post safety-related announcements at this site, along with updates and resource information. Remember that it may take time in an emergency for authorities to investigate the situation, verify the facts and provide the campus with instructions. Do not call 911 or the UNC Department of Public Safety for general information. This website will provide new details as quickly as possible.

Text messages and other communication

When the sirens are activated, the University also sends a text message to the cell phone numbers registered by students, faculty and staff in the online campus directory. You may keep the number private; the University will only send a text message in emergencies or as part of a test. To register, click the bar above, "Register Your Cell Phone." For details, a text message would direct you to this page.

The University also communicates about an emergency as quickly as possible using means including campus-wide e-mail and voice mail (for campus land lines), the Adverse Weather and Emergency Phone Line, 843-1234, for recorded information, and the University Access Channel (Chapel Hill Time Warner Cable Channel 4) along with other campus television channels.

This message is from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's "Alert Carolina" posting on the UNC at Chapel Hill Web site.