The University of Iowa

Emergency Information


In the event of a tornado warning, the University of Iowa will activate the outdoor warning system and Hawk Alert, upon official tornado warning notification from the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office and the National Weather Service. The outdoor warning system will sound the “alert” tone for 3 minutes, followed by a pre-recorded voice message announcing the warning. When you hear these sirens, take cover immediately, and seek additional information from local media sources.

The warning sirens are intended to warn persons outdoors, to seek shelter.

What does it mean?

A tornado watch means conditions are right for the development of a tornado or severe weather. During a watch, staff should be alert to weather conditions.

A tornado warning means that a tornado or severe weather is occurring, has been sighted or indicated by National Weather Service radar.

What to do in a tornado warning

  • Remain calm.
  • Go to a room or corridors in the innermost part of a building at the lowest level possible.

Areas to avoid

  • Stay clear of windows, corridors with windows, or large free- standing expanses such as auditoriums and cafeterias.
  • DO NOT use elevators during a warning.       
  • Close all doors, including main corridors, making sure they latch.
  • Crouch near the floor or under heavy, well supported objects and cover your head.

Upon the expiration of the tornado warning by the National Weather Service, a voice announcement will be broadcasted over the campus outdoor warning system.