UWF Severe Weather Frequently Asked Questions
The University of West Florida is committed to supporting UWF students, faculty and staff before, during and after severe weather. Below is an FAQ page with the most commonly asked storm-related questions by our students, faculty and staff. As you navigate through this webpage, you will find there are several resources to assist you, including information on returning to class and getting back on track academically, shelters and financial aid.
When does the University begin monitoring for potential hurricanes that may impact UWF?
UWF constantly monitors tropical system formation in the Atlantic Basin throughout the year and especially during the hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30. As storm systems approach our area, the University community will be notified and kept informed of the progress of such systems.
How does the University decide to close during inclement weather?
UWF constantly monitors information provided by the National Weather Service. Decisions to close are based on input from the NWS and in coordination with the Escambia County and State of Florida Emergency Operations Centers. The information is provided to the University's Emergency Management Team, who make any necessary closure decisions.
How can I stay updated about hurricanes and tropical storms?
In the event of a hurricane or tropical storm approaching Northwest Florida, University officials communicate with students via email, uwf.edu, UWF social media outlets (Facebook and Twitter) and the UWF Mobile Alert text messaging system. Additional communication outlets include desktop/computer notifications and loud speakers/sirens and electronic displays on campus, when necessary. Weather information is available by tuning into WUWF at 88.1FM or online at wuwf.org. Updates from the National Weather Service are available at weather.gov/mob, facebook.com/NWSMobile and twitter.com/nwsmobile.
Residential Student "Ride-Out Facility" Information
Which "ride-out" facilities are available for residential students?
When storm/hurricane conditions are expected in the Pensacola area, UWF residential students may be directed to either shelter in place or evacuate to the on-campus ride-out facility. A decision regarding student evacuation to the ride-out facility will be made as the storm progresses and communicated in a timely manner to residential students.
The official on-campus hurricane ride-out facility for UWF residential students is located in the Hal Marcus College of Science and Engineering, Building 4. If this shelter becomes unavailable, residential students will be moved from Building 4 to the University Commons, Building 22, pending the appropriate clearance of Building 22.
COVID-19 protocols will be utilized at the residential student ride-out facilities including but not limited to isolation areas, wearing of face coverings and social distancing. Specific action steps related to COVID-19 include the following:
- Per CDC guidelines, sheltering in place will be prioritized during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Body temperature monitoring and symptom screening will be conducted for all persons entering the shelter and in food distribution areas.
- UWF will provide separate areas, including restrooms, to isolate residents with symptoms of COVID-19.
- UWF will maintain contact with state and local public health agencies and emergency management for updates on local COVID-19 information.
- UWF will monitor residents daily for symptoms of COVID-19 and other illnesses and provide a daily status update to the local health department and other relevant agencies.
- All shelter residents, even those without symptoms, may have been exposed to COVID-19 and should self quarantine after leaving the shelter in accordance with state and local recommendations.
Non-Residential Student Information
Which "ride-out" facilities are available for non-residential students, faculty and staff during a natural disaster?
If my family needs to stay in Pensacola are there available spaces on campus?
Families evacuating from affected areas should contact the designated county ride-out facilities: Escambia County, Okaloosa County and Santa Rosa County. These facilities are staffed with emergency volunteers and equipped with food, water and other essentials. Residential students with specific needs may contact UWF Housing for information about limited guest housing by calling 850.474.2463 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Housing staff will assist on a case-by-case basis to determine the best course of action. The families of University employees who are required to work may also stay on campus during the storm.