Most freshmen at the University of Florida were only six years old the last time a hurricane hit campus.
Both Francis and Jeanne’s eye wall crossed Alachua County in 2004. UF could open shelters again if needed, and on Wednesday the school received recognition from the National Weather Service for its preparedness in case of dangerous weather.
To earn recognition, University of Florida Emergency Management staff:
- Established a way to disseminate severe weather alerts via the GatorSafe app
- Installed a public address system that can be heard from all high-traffic areas on campus
- Hosted annual storm spotter training courses
- Offered four or more weather safety talks per year on campus
Angie Enyedi, meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Jacksonville, presented a “stormready” award during a ceremony outside the Reitz Union Wednesday, stating that UF is leading by example.
“UF, in terms of northeast Florida, is the first school to do this. They’ve set the precedent,” she said. UF is now one of 15 universities around the state and nearly 200 nationwide to earn the honor.
Director Kenneth Allen said UF now offers five shelter locations, including the basement of the renovated Reitz Union. “When we talk about hurricane shelter,” he said, “the university has invested dramatically over the last several years to build hurricane shelters, which have met the state standard for hurricane shelters across campus.”
The stormready recognition is a milestone for UF, but Enyedi said readiness is an ongoing committment: “I have no doubt that UF will keep the stormready certification for many many years to come.”