Severe Weather Conditions

Blizzard or Ice Storm

Because Alma is a residential college, the college will be closed only under the most extreme weather conditions. Severe weather, however, such as heavy snow or ice, or some other emergency circumstances may create conditions which would require the delay of the start of the workday or the early release of staff members.


  1. Delay – The college will open for regular business at a later, specified time.
  2. Cancellation – The college cancels classes or specific college events before the opening of regular business hours.
  3. Closure/early dismissal – The college makes a decision to close before the completion of regular business hours and cancels remaining college activities.

Roles & Responsibilities

  • In the event of extreme snow accumulation or ice, the crisis management team will conduct a conference call to make a decision as to the delay, cancellation, closure or early dismissal.
  • Weather-related delays, cancellations, closures or early dismissals will be communicated via the Blackboard Connect campus alert system. The crisis management team will designate an authorized administrator of the alert system to initiate the emergency notification to students and employees.
  • Facilities and services management will maintain 24-hour snow removal operations throughout the storm.
  • Health services and food services will remain in operation throughout the storm.

Note: When regularly scheduled work hours are reduced because of emergency conditions, all employees and supervisors will refer to the policies established and recorded through human resources. Department heads and supervisors may not release their staff from work during emergency conditions without authorization from the president’s office or human resources.

Tornado or Violent Storm

This plan is aimed at preventing injury and saving lives of employees and students. A tornado may strike without warning, causing severe damage and/or injury. One clue that a tornado could develop is when a thunderstorm produces hail. The larger the hailstone, the more likely that a tornado will occur.


  1. Tornado watch – Weather conditions indicate the possibility of a tornado developing. Normal activities may be continued, but caution should be taken in view of threatening conditions.
  2. Tornado warning – A tornado has been sighted in the area. Take cover immediately and wait for the “all clear” to be issued.

Siren Warning System

The city of Alma maintains a siren warning system. The siren is tested at 1:00 p.m. on the first Saturday of each month. Alma College also maintains a siren warning system and conducts their test simultaneously with the city of Alma. Any time the siren for the city is sounded noting a tornado warning or when a tornado warning has been issued for our area, the college will also sound their siren.

Protocol Action Steps

  • When the tornado siren is activated seek shelter immediately. Be acutely aware of the shelter locations in the building you are in. See campus shelter locations.
  • Stay away from windows and close doors. If possible, cover yourself for protection from debris.
  • Stay in your shelter location until the “all clear” tone is sounded.  

Roles & Responsibilities

  • During severe weather, facilities and service management and Campus Safety will monitor the weather through multiple media sources. 
  • In the event that a tornado warning affects the campus during normal work hours, the director of facilities and service management will notify the president and the associate vice president of communications to initiate the campus alert system. In the event that the severe weather is after hours or weekends, Campus Safety will monitor the weather and contact the director of facilities and service management to initiate the appropriate actions.
  • The director of facilities and service management will initiate the emergency siren or notify Campus Safety to initiate the emergency siren.
  • All above stated parties will seek shelter appropriately after conducting the responsibilities of their office.
  • Once the tornado warning has expired and the threat of severe weather gone, the director of facilities and service management will give the call for “all clear” to be sounded and the campus will be notified through the campus alert system.
  • In the situation that a tornado or severe weather has damage part of or all of the campus, the crisis management team will convene to take appropriate action.