ST. LOUIS – St. Louis weather can change in minutes.
Students at Saint Louis University worked hard to get their campus “StormReady” for the first time since 2011. It’s a partnership with the National Weather Service where they work out a hazardous weather plan.
“We make sure that they have plenty of ways to receive weather information. Plenty of ways to get warning information out to the student body,” said Kevin Deitsch, Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in St. Louis.
“Really SLU has a great plan in place. They have text messaging alerts that they can get to students, they have emails that they can reach students and they have message boards across campus.”
Senior Ben Schaefer and fellow students began this process spring semester of 2021.
“So, at SLU, that entailed making sure we have weather radios at all the dorms and residential buildings,” Schaefer said.
The students presented a seminar last April open to students, faculty, and public safety.
“People don’t know what to do because there was an incidence last year where the tornado sirens were going off and people had no idea what to do,” said meteorology student Molly Gerhardt.
Making sure their fellow students now have a safety plan.
This project serves as a great example for potential incoming students.
“It’s a big safety thing and for anyone who’s looking to come here for the meteorology program it’s also kind of a draw to show that we are really on top of things and we do really want to promote a weather-safe campus,” said Elizabeth Bannon, another meteorology student.
This StormReady certification lasts for three years.
“We are still learning so much about the weather. Every three years or so scientists make new discoveries. Especially with severe weather and tornadoes which affect the St. Louis metro area,” Schaefer said.
“So it’s really important that from now 2021 to 2024 we are storm-ready with the updated technology and awareness that meteorologists have.”
Respected Department Chair Dr. Charles Graves, known as Doc by his students, jokes about how he can’t even take credit.
“I gave them the suggestion and they took the ball and ran with it. At times I like to claim their successes through me and claim a trophy professor-type attitude but in this one, I can’t even do that. they took the ball and ran with it and the next thing I know they not only moving forward but completing the whole process for getting SLU StormReady,” Graves said.
It’s great to see the students taking charge to make sure their friends all stay safe.