Spring weather message to the Iowa State community

Editor's note: This message was emailed March 28 to Iowa State students and employees.

Dear Iowa State community,

Spring weather in Iowa is often unpredictable and can quickly change from snow to severe thunderstorms in a matter of days.

The National Weather Service has designated March 27-31 as Severe Weather Awareness Week in Iowa. We encourage you to make time to review the information below and take steps to prepare for severe weather.

Severe weather and emergency closings

While extremely rare, there are occasions when the university will cancel classes or close due to weather conditions. University policy provides guidance and outlines expectations for employees related to cancellations and closings. If you are unfamiliar with the policy, we encourage you to access it through the policy library.

Weather announcements

The university will share information about cancellations and closings through a message sent to all Iowa State email addresses and on social media accounts @IowaStateU (Twitter and Facebook) and @IowaStateUNews (Twitter).

We encourage you to follow Iowa State University Police (@ISUPD) and Environmental Health and Safety (@IowaStateUEHS) on social media for weather-related information. Both departments work closely with the National Weather Service to provide updates for campus. 

Environmental Health and Safety also has a weather webpage with tips to prepare for severe weather and information about conditions we see during the spring and summer:

  • Severe thunderstorms: These are dangerous storms that can include lightning, hail, powerful winds, flash flooding or tornadoes.
  • Weather warnings: Timely and reliable emergency alerts are critical to your emergency response plan.
  • Tornadoes: A tornado is a violently rotating column of air, shaped like a funnel, that extends from a thunderstorm and contacts the ground. Tornadoes can produce winds exceeding 200 mph.
  • Flash floods: Floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States. Melting snow, heavy rain and overflows of dams or other water systems can quickly flood low-lying areas.

Weather alerts, notifications

The National Weather Service will send text messages through the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system to WEA-capable phones during an emergency. The alerts are for extreme weather conditions including tornadoes, severe thunderstorms (when the damage threat is destructive), flash flooding, etc.

If you are interested in receiving additional weather alerts, you can take advantage of the services provided by several local media outlets or consider purchasing a weather radio. This will allow you to customize notifications to your location. We'd also recommend bookmarking the following links:

Thank you for doing your part to be prepared for severe weather.


Michael Newton, associate vice president of public safety and chief of police
Paul Richmond, assistant vice president of environmental health and safety