OUR Clemson

University encourages safety planning for Severe Weather Awareness Week


On Thursday, March 2, Governor Henry McMaster officially proclaimed March 5-11 as Severe Weather and Flood Safety Week to encourage and increase public awareness of severe weather safety.

As the seasons change, opportunities for severe weather increase. For South Carolina, it comes in the form of thunderstorms, flooding and, in some cases, tornadoes. For Andrew Rzodkiewicz, Emergency Management Coordinator for Public Safety, understanding the different kinds of severe weather is the first step in planning for them.

“Being prepared for severe weather in South Carolina is very important, as Governor McMaster has proclaimed,” Rzodkiewicz said.

“Whether it is flash flooding, a tornado or lighting, weather patterns can change without much warning. For example, lightning can strike before it starts to rain or after the rain has ended.” 

Severe weather can occur anytime, and having up-to-date information is important to get to safety in time. For example, The National Weather Service offers resources for tracking weather in every region of South Carolina, including the Upstate, Midlands, Pee Dee and Low Country. To ensure proper safety measures, Ready.gov provides resources for different types of hazardous weather and how to plan for them.

While social media can be helpful for updates, Rzodkiewicz advocates using different emergency notification tools for severe weather. Rzodkiewicz points out how notification tools like CU Safe Alerts, which are standard for employees and students with “clemson.edu” email addresses, have been crucial in delivering severe weather messages to the University community.

Simply checking your my.clemson profile to ensure CU Safe Alerts is properly enabled for timely updates on severe weather and other campus emergencies is the first step in establishing a safety plan.

“Social media has become a popular avenue to circulate severe weather information, allowing for real-time updates to be shared through the community.  It should not, however, be the primary source of emergency notifications severe weather advisories, watches and warnings,” Rzodkiewicz said.

“Options like CU Safe Alerts and a trusted weather app are the best for real-time emergency push notifications.” 

With severe weather preparedness gaining an increased emphasis throughout the state with Governor McMaster’s proclamation, it is important to be aware of the resources available and have the right plan available for any situation. With the significant impact severe weather can have physically and emotionally, having the best action plan for emergencies can help keep yourself and your loved ones safe.

“Knowing where to go when severe weather strikes is critical,” Rzodkiewicz said.

“Whether it’s knowing what steps to take during a tornado or for lightning, taking the proper steps and having an effective plan in place can make a difference in helping save lives.”