WKU Hopes StormReady Designation Will Improve Student and Community Safety

By Brett Baldeck | 

It's the worst case scenario. A tornado is heading straight towards Western Kentucky University. The school is now better prepared to handle that type of event after being designated StormReady.

"It's a way for the university to have so many ways to receive warnings, have so many shelters, to receive those warnings and transmit those warnings effectively. To have a plane of action where everyone goes and a flow of information," says John Gordon, Chief Meteorologist from the National Weather Service in Louisville.

For more than a year a handful of meteorology students called the Storm Topper Network has worked with the National Weather Service. On Wednesday, they presented their plans to University President Gary Ransdell.

The group hopes action now will keep students safe before threatening skies make their way to campus.

"It takes a major catastrophe for someone to become StormReady or someone to take preparation measures. So we have 20,000 people on campus you need to have inform. How do people find out about it? who needs to be in charge of what? And give people accountability so you can accomplish the same goal," says Austin Boys from the Storm Topper Network.

StormReady isn't just for protecting students and staff at Western Kentucky University. People attending sporting events or other activities on campus will be protected from any impending severe weather.

"The days where we have 25,000 in Houchens Smith Stadium or 7,000 or 8,000 people in Diddle Arena we want to make sure we are also prepared for event like that when we have a lot of visitors to our campus that we continue to be safe," says President Dr. Gary Ransdell.

Ransdell says he is impressed a student organization was able to make the school StormReady. The improved severe weather action plan takes effect immediately.

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