Weather Hazards

The Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and ODU Administration use the National Weather Service for all official weather information to make decisions. Check ODU's Home Page, call the University Switchboard 757-683-3000, or listen to local news broadcasts for info about University closings.


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What's it Mean?


An advisory highlights special weather conditions that are less serious than a warning, such as events that may cause significant inconvenience, and if caution is not exercised, could lead to situations that may threaten life and/or property.


A watch is used when the risk of a hazardous weather event has increased significantly, but its occurrence, location, and/or timing is still uncertain. It is to provide enough lead time so that those who need to set their plans in motion can do so.


A warning is issued when a hazardous weather event is occurring, is imminent, or has a very high probability of occurring. A warning is used for conditions posing a threat to life or property.

Severe Weather Tips

General Recommendations:

  • Keep a small, battery-operated radio on hand to stay informed.
  • Use telephones for emergency calls only.
  • Stay away from downed power lines. Do not handle live electrical equipment in wet areas.
  • Leave the area immediately if you smell gas or vapors from chemicals.
  • Help injured persons only if you can do so without putting yourself at risk of injury. Provide first aid if you are trained. Report injuries by calling ODU Police at 757-683-4000 (or 9-1-1 if off-campus). Do not move injured persons unless they are in immediate danger.
  • Report damage on campus to Facilities Management & Construction or Compliance & Risk Management.

Follow these recommendations if there is news of a flood in your area:

  • Be prepared to shelter-in-place or to evacuate at a moment's notice.
  • Be aware of streams, drainage channels, underpasses, and other areas known to flood suddenly.
  • Listen to area radio and television stations and a NOAA Weather Radio for possible flood warnings and reports of flooding in progress or other critical information from the National Weather Service.

Get More Info:

Hurricane season is June 1 - November 30, but hurricanes can happen any time of year. Follow these recommendations if there is news of a hurricane in your area:

  • Follow the instructions of local emergency management personnel regarding evacuation.
  • If hurricane conditions already exist outside your location, stay put! Find shelter as best you can and wait it out. The most violent conditions are likely to pass in 24 hours or less.
  • Secure the space by shutting and locking all windows and doors.
  • Try to locate supplies you may need such as food, water, a radio, etc.

Hurricane Evacuation Info:

Follow these recommendations if there is news of a tornado in your area:

  • The sirens on the Norfolk campus will be activated during a tornado warning.
  • If you hear about a tornado in your area, DO NOT wait until you see it to take cover.
  • Seek indoor shelter in the lowest level possible, in an anterior room or hallway way from windows & doors.
  • Avoid windows, corridors with windows, or large free-standing expanses (such as auditoriums and cafeterias).
  • DO NOT use elevators during a tornado warning!
  • If you are caught outside with no shelter, lie flat in a ditch or depression and cover your head.
  • Watch out for flying debris, as it is the leading cause of fatalities and injuries from tornadoes.

Follow these recommendations if there is news of a winter storm in your area:

  • Before the storm, stock up on non-perishable foods, batteries, and items to remain warm and comfortable.
  • If possible, stay off the roads and remain indoors during the storm.
  • Never use a generator, grill, camp stove, or gasoline, propane, natural gas, or charcoal burning device inside your home or in any other partially enclosed area.
  • Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow.
  • Dress for the weather and protect yourself from frostbite - wear a hat, mittens, and scarf to reduce body heat loss.
  • Stay dry and change out of wet clothing frequently to avoid heat loss.
  • If you must travel, make sure your car has an emergency kit and is prepared for winter travel.
  • Know the road conditions before you leave - visit or call 511 for road condition updates.
  • Always give snow plows the right of way.
  • Don't forget to check on your friends, neighbors, persons that are elderly or have a disability, and pets.

Winter Weather Guide >