What is a hurricane?
A hurricane is defined as a tropical cyclone with winds of 74 miles (119 kilometers) per hour or greater that is usually accompanied by rain, thunder, and lightning, and that sometimes moves into temperate latitudes. A tropical storm is defined as a tropical cyclone with strong winds of over 39 miles (63 kilometers) per hour but less than hurricane intensity.
Hurricanes originate in the Atlantic basin, which includes the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico, the eastern North Pacific Ocean, and, less frequently, the central North Pacific Ocean. A six-year rotating list of names, updated and maintained by the World Meteorological Organization, is used to identify these storms.
When is hurricane season?
“Hurricane Season” begins on June 1 and ends on November 30, although hurricanes can, and have, occurred outside of this time frame. NOAA’s National Hurricane Center predicts and tracks these massive storm systems, which occur, on average, 12 times a year in the Atlantic basin.
How can I keep up with the latest information about the storm?
- UF’s homepage is the place to find official information regarding the storm as it relates to the university community.
- UF Alert notifications will go out if there are any storm-related or other emergencies or schedule changes.
- Weather updates can be found at emergency.ufl.edu and ufweather.org.
- Stay current with news and information from local media. If you lose power, UF Weather coverage will be available on 89.1 FM, 98.1 FM, 103.7 FM and 850 AM.
Smartphone users are encouraged to download the free GATORSAFE app in order to report tips to UFPD, make emergency calls and get safety alerts. Campus resources and maps are also available on this app.
How is the university keeping track of the storm and its possible effects?
The University of Florida actively monitors the track of all storms and inclement weather systems. UF’s Department of Emergency Management participates in daily calls with local and state forecasters and emergency managers to learn the latest track and impacts. UF will update the greater Gator community on efforts, expected impacts or schedule changes as information is available.
What goes into making a decision to cancel classes on campus and or close operations?
The UF administration will make a decision on any potential class cancellations or campus closures when there is sufficient information regarding the track of the storm, potential rainfall and flooding, wind speeds as well as road and other closures. Schedule changes will be sent out through the UF Alert notification system via text message and email and posted on the UF Home page at ufl.edu under the storm tab.
Preparation & Safety
What should be done before the storm?
Ensure that a storm supply kit is stocked – checklist: emergency.ufl.edu/preparedness/build-your-disaster-kit
- Download the GatorSafe Hurricane Survivor Brochure
- Fuel vehicle
- Inform family and friends of your plan, especially if sheltering in a different location than usual
- Remove or secure outside items such as potted plants, grills and lawn furniture
What are some recommendations during the storm?
- Stay indoors and do not travel during the storm
- If winds become strong, stay away from doors and windows. Take refuge in an interior room, closet or hallway
- Do NOT use candles, which can increase fire risk
- Understand that emergency services and scheduled bus routes might not be able to respond or operate during the storm
How do I sign up to receive UF Alerts?
All students and faculty and staff members are automatically enrolled to receive UF Alert text and email messages.
To edit your UF Alert location settings, take the following steps:
- Go to the My UFL website at my.ufl.edu/ps/signon.html
- Click on the “Access myUFL” button and sign in with your Gator Link username and password
- Select the “Main Menu”
- Under the “My Account” menu, click “Update Emergency Contact”
Housing & Shelters
Where should university housing residents go?
Observe guidance and instructions from housing staff, including your Resident Assistant, Graduate Hall Director, Residence Director, Area Coordinator, and Graduate and Family Housing staff (GFH). When possible, food-service facilities will be open within the resident areas. Housing units without food-service facilities will be provided food if the emergency periods extends beyond 24 hours. Residents should have their own non-perishable food on hand for the first 72 hours of an emergency. As UF is not responsible for your personal belongings, residents are encourage to purchase renters insurance.
Where should off-campus residents go?
Off-campus residents should observe guidance and instructions such as curfews or boil water notices issued by local officials. Store appropriate supplies and prepare your residence to weather the storm.
Can students stay in residence halls during tropical weather?
Yes, neither the UF campus nor the surrounding Gainesville area have hurricane evacuation zones. In most cases, residents will shelter in their apartment or residence hall. Housing staff will communicate guidance for each building prior to a storm.
Are there generators in the residence halls? What do they power?
Our residence halls are equipped with emergency generators to keep critical life safety systems (emergency lighting and fire alarms) fully operational during a power outage. These generators are tested on a bi-annual and weekly basis to ensure they are in proper working order. The generators do not power elevators, with the exception of Cypress Hall (both elevators) and Beaty Towers, which have emergency power for one elevator in each tower.
Could UF serve as a shelter location?
Yes. Shelters will open on campus as needed for UF, students, staff, faculty and their families. UF has identified several Gainesville campus buildings which could be opened as shelters for employees, students and their families. Your decision to go to a shelter should be based on the construction and location of your home. On campus residents will stay in their building. Off-campus students and employees will normally shelter in their residence unless in manufactured housing or flood-prone areas. Shelter information will be disseminated widely through campus as well as media resources.
Are there guidelines within the shelter?
Please be advised:
- Bring your Gator 1 Card
- No pets or comfort animals will be allowed into the shelter, only ADA service animals are permitted. Alachua County generally offers pet-friendly shelters.
- Please provide your own bedding (i.e. pillows, blankets, sheets, air mattresses etc.).
- Basic food options will be provided. If you have dietary restrictions, please bring your own food.
- Don’t forget your chargers for electronic devices, and headphones/ear buds for video and audio use.
- Please bring your own medicines and/or medical supplies.
- No re-entry will be allowed after exiting the shelter.
On-Campus Food Options
Will dining operations be open during the storm?
Generally, dining facilities on campus operate during the hours posted on gatordining.com Please check back frequently as they are subject to change due to continual weather updates. Consider when stopping by a dining outlet to grab something extra as conditions may worsen. It is important to plan ahead and have additional food to eat if conditions are unsafe later.
Will academic assignment due dates be enforced?
Campus closures affect all classes, including those conducted online. Students with specific questions should reach out to their faculty members, who have been asked to be understanding and consider personal and family hardships.
Transportation & Parking
Will buses and shuttles be running?
Service will be dictated by wind speeds and weather conditions. Buses and emergency vehicles stop running during high winds. Routes may be detoured due to debris in roadways or closed roadways also. Please follow the City of Gainesville and RTS on Facebook for up-to-date information. Check go-rts.com for routes and schedules.
Where should students park their cars? If they live off campus and don’t have a permit, can they park on campus? If so, where?
Students who live on campus may keep their cars on campus. Students who live off campus should utilize their normal parking arrangements.