University, students prepare for severe weather

Cars line up to enter the K-State Parking Garage as severe weather approaches Manhattan on April 24, 2016. (George Walker | The Collegian)

Kansas is entering tornado season, and many people are beginning preparations for potential severe weather. K-State Polytechnic campus canceled classes and sent people home early, and the Manhattan campus canceled evening classes due to severe weather alerts on Tuesday.

K-State sends out alerts regarding severe weather to keep students and faculty informed, Jeff Morris, vice president of communications and marketing, said.

“I don’t know what I would be in (a tornado) situation,” Alyssa Strahl, sophomore in early childhood education, said. “I would probably just cry. You don’t really think about it until you’re in the moment.”

Strahl said she is no stranger to the severe weather in Kansas, but she has yet to experience anything too bad. She said she tries to take cover if it does start to look like there is a high tornado potential, though not everyone takes shelter when the sirens go off.

“Me and my friends get together, get in a truck and go chase the storms,” Matt Willis, freshman in food science and industry, said.

Willis said he has been interested in storm chasing since high school, and his family also chases storms. He said he hasn’t experienced any weather that made him want to stay inside.

“Things can build up very quickly in Kansas,” Morris said. “It’s a hard to predict where (weather might hit). It’s a big state, so things can happen suddenly. So one, be aware of your surroundings. Two, subscribe to K-State Alerts.”

Morris said he recommends people pay attention to weather service announcements, K-State Alerts and other weather apps to stay informed about the severity of weather. K-State works with many weather services and first-responders to make sure everyone stays informed and safe during severe weather situations, Morris said.

Morris also said people should be aware of safety areas around campus, whether in the residence halls or in academic buildings. Morris said there are signs in every building that show where safety areas are, so students and faculty can know where to go when severe weather strikes.

Morris said storms in the past have caused damages to campus, but they have never had to evacuate any areas. Though K-State cannot mandate that students and faculty take cover, Morris said he highly encourages people to take proper safety precautions.

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