Severe Weather

Read UMGC's guide to severe and inclement weather.

In the event of a tornado or severe weather alert, time is of the essence.


Severe weather conditions are monitored and received via Emergency Alert Radios stationed at Adelphi, Largo, and Dorsey Station. The radios will sound an alarm and specify the weather emergency and affected area. The radios are programmed to signal alerts for specific areas and zones within the affected counties.

The University of Maryland Department of Public Safety Early Warning Siren will sound and indicate a life-threatening weather emergency. Specific information on the alert can be obtained through the following resources:

UMGC Emergency Action Team Leaders and security staff maintain contact with the UMD Department of Public Safety and monitor their actions and response to weather conditions. The EAT will evaluate UMD's response and initiate a response of our own, if there is a threat to the UMGC community.

Whenever severe weather is forecasted, security and the EAT Leaders will monitor the weather via internet and television, in order to remain updated.


Once a severe weather or tornado watch has been made for a specific area, the security team will notify the Security Director and EAT Leaders and advise them of the situation. The Security Director and EAT Leaders will monitor the situation closely with Security and Facilities Management. EAT Leaders will decide on a course of action.

The following systems can be activated to alert the affected community when deemed necessary by the conditions:

  • UMGC Emergency Text Alert System
  • PA Announcements
  • Emergency two-way radio

Faculty, staff and students outside of the MD/DC/VA area or those that work, take classes or seek counseling services at locations not owned or managed by UMGC are urged to sign up for the local government or military installation’s emergency notification system.

Tornado Watch: Conditions are right for a tornado to develop. Continue with normal activities, but continue to monitor the weather.

Tornado Warning: Radar or weather spotters have identified a tornado. If the tornado poses a danger to the campus community, the UMGC MyAlerts system will be activated and PA announcements will be made at the affected locations.

When a tornado watch has been declared in the geographic area of UMGC, all outside mobile assets should be moved inside and preparations should be made towards protection of the property from high winds.

Response Actions

If a Tornado Warning has been issued or other severe weather conditions exist that pose an immediate threat to the UMGC community, individuals should proceed as follows:

Inside buildings:

  • Stay away from all windows and doors.
  • Move to an interior corridor away from windows.
  • Stay away from lobbies, walkways, atriums and other large glassed-in areas, and large open areas with a long roof span.
  • If available, take a cell phone and flashlight.
  • Crouch down along the wall and protect your head with your hands from possible debris.
  • Remain in sheltered area until given the "all clear."

Outside of buildings:

  • When instructed or conditions warrant, seek shelter in the nearest building.
  • If there is no shelter available, lie in a ditch or other earthen depression.
  • Stay away from buildings, windows and glass, telephone or light poles, or any place where there can be falling debris.
  • Lie face down and cover your head and face.
  • Never attempt to outrun a tornado.

Evacuation to Safe Area

If time permits, all personnel should evacuate to the basement or a ground-level interior hallway without windows.

UMGC Headquarters and College Park Marriott Hotel and Conference Center Safe Area:

  1. Lower Level Concourse.
  2. Conference rooms 1301 and 1308 and back service hallway of the West Hotel.

Academic Center at Largo Safe Area:

  1. First floor hallway outside of the classrooms.
  2. First floor hallway behind the main security desk that leads to the cafeteria.
  3. South side basement.

Dorsey Station Safe Area:
First floor central hallway by the restrooms.

Waldorf Center Safe Area:
First floor classroom hallway.

Quantico Safe Area:
Center of the suite in between the cubicles.