Severe Storms & Tornadoes - The University of Tulsa
Close Menu
Close Menu

Severe Storms & Tornadoes

Photograph of storm clouds

In Oklahoma, severe thunderstorms and tornadoes are a possibility. It is important that you are prepared for a storm.

Watches and warnings

Tornado watch – indicates that weather conditions are favorable for the development of tornadoes in and near the watch area. Watch areas are typically large and cover multiple counties or even states.

Tornado warning – means that a tornado or funnel cloud has been spotted or there are radar indications that a tornado is likely. Go to the closest storm shelter immediately.

Severe thunderstorm watch – indicates that weather conditions are favorable for the development of severe thunderstorms in or near the watch area.

Severe thunderstorm warning – indicates that a thunderstorm in the vicinity may include strong winds and large hail.

Step 1

When severe weather is forecast:

  1. Watch local weather for storm warnings and read TU text message alerts. If you haven’t subscribed to TU’s emergency text system, sign up here.
  2. Add TU Campus Security to your contacts list: 918-631-5555.
  3. Prepare to take cover.
  4. Gather emergency bag:
    • Cell phone with portable charger
    • Flashlight
    • Water
    • Snacks
    • Medications

Step 2

When a tornado warning has been issued:

  1. Stay indoors and stay away from windows, doors, and exterior walls.
    • Do not attempt to outrun a storm or tornado.
  2. Turn off and disconnect electrical equipment from the power source, if possible.
  3. If you are on the TU campus, including TU apartments:
    • Go to the assigned severe storm shelter area or an interior hallway on a lower level in the building where you are.
    • Close office and hallway doors to minimize the risk of injury from flying debris.
  4. If you are not on the TU campus:
    • Go to the designated storm shelter or to an interior room or hallway on the lowest floor of the building, away from doors and windows.
    • Cover yourself with a mattress, blankets, or piece of furniture.
  5. If you are in a vehicle:
    • Go to the nearest shelter or building.

If you are unable to go to a marked storm shelter, go to an interior room or hallway with no windows or glass walls on the lowest level of the building. Rooms without an exterior wall are preferred. Avoid rooms with high or vaulted ceilings.

Step 3

After the storm has passed and the tornado warning has expired:

  1. Contact family and friends to let them know of your status. Text messages and social media will be more reliable than phone calls.
  2. Leave the storm shelter and be aware of broken glass. Avoid downed power lines. Call 911 if you smell gas.
  3. Call Campus Security at 918-631-5555 or 911 if you are trapped.

TU storm shelters: Know where to go

  • Academic & Administrative Buildings
    Building Name Physical Address Storm Shelter/Severe Weather Area
    5th Place House 3126 E. 5th Pl. Basement
    Alexander Health Center / Hurricane Health 2946 E. 5th St. Exam Room 2 (building not unlocked after hours)
    Allen Chapman Student Union 3135 E. 5th Pl. First floor restrooms, kitchen prep area and pantry, dishwashing room, mail room, interior Sodexo offices, if needed all lower stairwell areas
    Boesche Legal Clinic 407 S. Florence Ave. Faculty work room 1101, Interview room, restrooms (building not unlocked after hours – go to Law School)
    Case Athletic Complex 3150 E. 8th St. South side of first floor, locker rooms
    Chapman Hall 2830 E. 5th St. Lower level interior hall, lower level floor rest rooms; Lecture Hall
    Collins Administration Hall 2905 E. 8th St. First floor restrooms; area outside of first floor restrooms (away from lobby); interior hallways in east end of admission suite with office doors closed
    Collins Fitness Center 502 S. Delaware Ave. Men’s and women’s locker rooms first floor
    Collins Softball Complex/Clubhouse No storm shelter in building; use Case Tennis Center or restrooms outside of Case Tennis Center
    Donald W. Reynolds Center 3208 E. 8th St. Arena level outer hallways and rooms
    Fisher East 2821 E. 8th St. First floor interior hall; first floor suites and restrooms with room doors closed
    Fisher West Suites 2821 E. 8th St. First floor interior halls with room doors closed; first floor suites with room doors closed
    H.A. Chapman Stadium 3112 E. 8th St. Stadium locker rooms or Donald W. Reynolds Center lowest level outer hallways and rooms
    Hardesty Hall / Holmes Student Center 3105 E. 5th Pl. First floor rest rooms and first floor interior hallways; basement of residence hall side of building
    Harwell Hall 615 S. Florence Ave. First floor women’s rest room; McFarlin Library, Oliphant & Kendall Halls are options, if time allows (building not unlocked after hours)
    Helmerich Hall 2900 E. 5th St. Room 111; Room 125; Storage room 126; under stairs room 112C; HELM 118-interior hallways with office doors closed
    Hurricane Athletic Admin/Mabee Gym/Music Annex 3105 E. 8th St Interior hallway by rowing center, music hallway and library, restrooms
    Hurricane Athletic Building / Security 3115 E. 8th St. First floor interior hall with doors closed (by rowing center)
    Kendall Hall 601 S. College Ave. Green room, other basement rooms and halls
    Keplinger Hall 430 S. Gary Pl. Lower level – interior halls, away from glass partitions with office/lab/hall doors shut; rest rooms
    College of Law/Mabee Legal Clinic 3120 E. 4th Pl. Lower level – Hallway near elevator lobby and restrooms (1202,1203); Hallway and rooms 1003 & 1004; East hallway and restrooms (1412, 1413); Hallway near law review offices and restrooms (1314, 1316); Main floor – inner hallways by faculty offices with doors closed (overflow areas for classes)
    Lorton Hall 2820 E. 6th St. Main hallway lower level with the east and west doors closed; interior hallway in suite 102
    Lorton Performance Center 500 S. Gary Pl. Lower level away from glass in lobby area; Ground floor restrooms
    Mary K. Chapman Center 2820 E. 5th St Basement classrooms, rest rooms
    McClure Hall 2905 E. 7th St. Room 105 and 106 with office doors closed, rest rooms (Building not unlocked after hours)
    McFarlin Library 2933 E. 6th St. Main level between Reserve and Media Services in the 1926 section, corner stairwells and any interior rooms in lowest level of 1979 portion of building (stacks), restrooms on plaza, main, and lower levels
    Michael D. Case Tennis Center 712 S. Delaware Ave. Locker rooms, central core area on First floor
    Oliphant Hall 3015 E. 7th St. First floor east to west hall with doors on each end closed
    Phillips Hall 2930 E. 5th St. Lower level interior hall, student lounge, interior rooms on lower level
    Physical Plant 3015 E. 8th St. Interior offices in administrative area and rest rooms
    Rayzor Hall 3155 E. 5th Pl. First floor interior hallways and rest rooms
    Sharp Chapel 2940 E. 6th St. Rest rooms, kitchen, pantry, south lower stairwell, Kendall Hall (preferred)
    Stephenson Hall 3205 E. 5th Pl. First floor interior hallways and rest rooms
    Tyrrell Hall 2930 E. 6th St. West end basement interior hall with hall and room doors closed
    University School 326 S. College Ave. Designated severe weather shelter – West Wing room 102 (building not unlocked after hours)
    Westby Hall 710 S. College Ave. Northeast corner lower level, south interior offices with doors shut, room 108, 109, and 127, lower level rest rooms (building not unlocked after hours)
    Zink Hall 3101 E. 7th St. First floor elevator lobby, first floor offices without windows, restrooms

  • Campus Housing Buildings
    Building Name Physical Address Storm Shelter/Severe Weather Area
    Residence Halls
    Fisher West Suites 2821 E. 8th St. First floor interior hall; first floor suites and restrooms with room doors closed
    Hardesty Hall 3105 E. 5th Pl. Storm shelter in basement level
    John Mabee Residence Hall 2807 E. 5th Pl. Basement game room, basement interior hall away from windows
    LaFortune Residence Hall 3202 E. 7th St. Suites 102, 104, 105, 106, 107 with room doors closed; first floor suite restrooms with doors closed; lobby restroom
    Lottie Jane Mabee Residence Hall 2808 E. 6th St. Basement kitchen, meeting room, basement interior hall away from windows
    Fraternities and Sororities
    Fraternity-Kappa Alpha 3145 E. 7th St. Ground floor hallway with room doors closed
    Fraternity-Kappa Sigma 3131 E. 7th St. Ground floor hallway with room doors closed
    Fraternity-Lambda Chi Alpha 3201 E. 7th St. Ground floor hallway with room doors closed
    Fraternity-Pi Kappa Alpha 3123 E. 7th St. Ground floor hallway with room doors closed
    Fraternity-Sigma Chi 3223 E. 7th St. Ground floor hallway with room doors closed
    Fraternity Sigma NU 3211 E. 7th St. Ground floor hallway with room doors closed
    Sorority-Chi Omega 3100 E. 5th Pl. Bedroom side – First floor interior halls and hall suites, with room doors closed
    Sorority-Delta Delta Delta 3112 E. 5th Pl. Bedroom side – First floor interior halls and hall suites, with room doors closed
    Sorority-Delta Gamma 3150 E. 5th Pl. Bedroom side – First floor interior halls and hall suites, with room doors closed
    Sorority-Kappa Alpha Theta 3120 E. 5th Pl. Bedroom side – First floor interior halls and hall suites, with room doors closed
    Sorority-Kappa Delta 3134 E. 5th Pl. Bedroom side – First floor interior halls and hall suites, with room doors closed
    Sorority-Kappa Kappa Gamma 3146 E. 5th Pl. Bedroom side – First floor interior halls and hall suites, with room doors closed
    Campus Apartments
    Brown Village 3201, 3202, 3206, 3207, 3210 4th Pl. First floor: walk-in closets, bathrooms, laundry room; and Keplinger Hall designated areas
    Lorton Village 3002, 3006, 3010, 3014, 3018, 3022, 3026 E. 8th St. First floor: walk-in closets, bathrooms, laundry room; and LaFortune Residence Hall, Chapman Stadium and Case Athletic Complex designated areas
    Mayo Village 2806, 2814, 2818, 2822, 2838, 2846, 2850, 2854, 2858 E. 8th St. First floor: walk-in closets, bathrooms, laundry room; William F. Fisher West Suites and Case Tennis Center designated areas;
    Norman Village Apartments (Bldgs. 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, 700, 800, 900) 305, 315, 321, 327, 333, 339 S. Delaware Ave., 2830 E 3rd St., 2831 E 4th Pl., 312 S Evanston Ave. First floor: walk-in closets, bathrooms, laundry room; John Mabee Residence Hall and Chapman Hall designated areas
    University Square South Apartments (Bldg. 1800,1900, 2000) 425 S Delaware Ave., 2815 E. 5th, 2830 E 4th Pl. First floor: walk-in closets, bathrooms, laundry room; John Mabee Residence Hall and Mary K. Chapman designated areas
    University Square West Apartments (Bldgs. 1200, 1300, 1400, 1500, 1600, 1700) 412, 416, 420, 424, 428, 432 S. Delaware Ave. First floor: walk-in closets, bathrooms, laundry room; Collins Fitness Center designated areas and John Mabee Residence Hall designated areas
    West Park Apartments: 1010-1038/Psychology Dept. Clinic 2405 4th Pl. S First floor interior hallway outside of the True Blue Neighbors’ office

  • North Campus Buildings
    Building Name Physical Address Storm Shelter/Severe Weather Area
    North Campus: Drill Building 2450 E. Marshall St. Interior rooms on lower level, lower level rest rooms
    North Campus: Cold Flow 2450 E. Marshall St. Shelter areas listed in nearest North Campus building
    North Campus: Hydrate Facility 2450 E. Marshall St. Shelter areas listed in nearest North Campus building
    North Campus: Special Projects Building 2450 E. Marshall St. Move to safer building if time permits, otherwise use restrooms
    North Campus: TUFFP/TUPDP 2450 E. Marshall St. Move to electronics shop, Model Lab Building or Drill Building
    North Campus: Alpine House 2450 E. Marshall St. Rest rooms, under stairs in nearest North Campus building
    North Campus: Machine Shop 2450 E. Marshall St. Move to electronics shop, Model Lab Building or Drill Building
    North Campus: Model Lab Building 2450 E. Marshall St. Interior offices and rooms without chemicals
    North Campus: Storage Building 2450 E. Marshall St. Move to electronics shop, Model Lab Building or Drill Building

  • Off-Site/Off-Campus Buildings
    Building Name Physical Address Storm Shelter/Severe Weather Area
    Gilcrease Offsite Location Lower level
    Helmerich Center for Gilcrease Museum 1400 N. Gilcrease Museum Rd. Men’s and Women’s Rest Room on the first floor. For additional space use hallway near elevator on first floor or hallway downstairs in HCAR.
    Henneke Building 1204 S. Harvard Ave. Basement, inside rooms with no windows
    Oxley Health Sciences Facility 1215 S. Boulder Ave. Basement – go to the main lobby; use the stairwell that goes to the basement – located directly south of the elevators.
    True Blue Neighbors Behavioral Health Clinic / West Park Apartments 2405 E. 4th Pl. S First floor interior hallway just outside of the True Blue Neighbors’ office
    101 E. Archer Building 101 E. Archer St. First floor west stairwell, first floor restrooms
    Automotive Research Center First floor interior offices, restrooms

  • After-hours Shelter Locations

    Allen Chapman Student Union
    Case Athletic Complex
    Chapman Hall
    Chapman Stadium Visitor Locker room (west side)
    Collins Administration Hall
    Collins Fitness Center
    Hardesty Hall / Holmes Student Center
    Helmerich Hall
    Kendall Hall
    Keplinger Hall
    Law School & MLIC
    Lorton Hall
    Lorton Performance Center
    Mary K. Chapman Center
    Mabee Gym / Band
    McFarlin Library
    Michael D. Case Tennis Center
    Oliphant Hall
    Phillips Hall
    Rayzor Hall
    Reynolds Center
    Sharp Chapel
    Stephenson Hall
    Tyrrell Hall
    Zink Hall
    Oxley, Archer, and HCAR-only open if events in progress

Preparing for a severe weather event

The spring season is a good time to begin making necessary preparations for storms.

A place to start would be to ensure you have provisions available to sustain you for several days if a storm impacted the community, such as:

  • A full tank of gas in your vehicle
  • Prescription medications for three to seven days
  • Non-perishable food for at least three days
  • Pet food
  • Water for at least three days (drinking, washing hands and dishes, etc.)
  • Cash

When announcements are made about severe weather that could impact this area, you should check to make sure you have the provisions you might need.

Have a plan where you will go during a storm. Make sure your friends and roommates are aware of the plan and know where to go. Have a plan to communicate with friends and family after the storm has passed.

You should prepare an emergency kit that you could take with you if you have to go to a storm shelter or leave your residence. The kit should include:

  • A first aid kit
  • Weather radio
  • Non-perishable foods, for yourself and pets
  • Water
  • A change of clothes
  • Prescription medications
  • Cell phone and a charger
  • Flashlight
  • Whistle
  • Copies of important documents (i.e. passport, drivers license, banking information, medical information)
  • Cash

Wear sneakers or other closed toe shoes when you go to the storm shelter, so you are protected from broken glass after a storm.