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Severe Weather at UCF

The University of Central Florida maintains regular communication with the National Weather Service in Melbourne, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the National Hurricane Center so that the latest information can be shared with the UCF community.

UCF’s Emergency Management team works hard to prevent, prepare for, manage and recover from a variety of threats to UCF, including severe weather. Along with campus partners, they plan and train for hurricane season year-round.

If a serious storm or hurricane threatens our region, Governor Ron DeSantis and UCF President Alexander N. Cartwright have the authority to cancel classes or close campuses. Time-sensitive and emergency notifications are shared through UCF Alert. All students, faculty and staff are automatically signed up to receive alerts and can login to myUCF to edit their information.

Hurricanes in Central Florida

The annual Atlantic Hurricane Season runs June 1 through November 30. Central Florida experiences its share of hurricanes and tropical weather. Florida’s unique shape and location often puts us in the direct path of a hurricane.

Hurricanes can cause many other weather hazards. Storm surge, inland flooding and even tornadoes can be prevalent with any hurricane making its way ashore.

We encourage all Knights to have their own personal plan in advance of an imminent storm.

Before the Storm

We encourage students and employees to put together their own hurricane safety kits and to create a plan with their loved ones should a storm impact Central Florida. Kits should provide enough essentials to survive at least three days, and include water, non-perishable food, prescription medications, and important documents, among other necessities.

Student Procedures

Be sure to notify your family where you are staying and that you are safe. Remind them that we could lose cell phone service and access to local phones in the Central Florida area. You should take measures to protect personal possessions that are left behind. The university is not responsible for loss or damage of UCF Housing residents’ possessions. Below is a reference list of items that should be done prior to leaving for a shelter or evacuating:

  • Move personal items away from windows and off the floor.
  • Cover electronic equipment, books and important papers with plastic to prevent water damage.
  • Shut off all computers and save any important items.
  • Lock all doors when occupants are not in the room or apartment. Also, windows must be closed tightly, and any window blinds should be closed.
  • Any resident who owns a car should take measures to protect it. We recommend parking your vehicle in a parking garage to allow for adequate protection. Fill up your gas tank prior to the storm, as gas supplies post-storm may become scarce.

If you are moving to a shelter or ride-out location, you should be prepared to to be there for several days while the storm passes. Bring essential personal belongings and a book, game or other activity to keep yourself busy.

Employee Procedures

Faculty and staff should ensure their work space is protected and secure. It is highly recommended to bring personal belongings home with you in case your building or office sustains damage. Before the campus closes, employees should:

  • Turn off computers, printers and other technology and cover with bags if possible
  • Turn off and unplug any small appliances such as microwaves, toasters, coffee makers, etc.
  • Take home all food items and clean kitchen (if applicable)
  • Close window shades and turn off lights

If your office is student-serving, be sure to have signage indicating the space is closed and set phones as out-of-office. Ensure any lobby areas and common spaces in the building are also protected.

Frequently Asked Questions

Stay up-to-date with the most frequently asked questions about hurricanes and severe weather by UCF students, faculty, parents and more.

Campus Operations

UCF will have damage assessment teams staged on campus riding out the storm so they can immediately begin to do their jobs once it is safe to. We will begin reopening campus as roads and facilities are declared safe. Continue to check your email and UCF’s social media accounts for the latest updates

UCF will continue to post updates here, on UCF’s website and through the UCF and UCF Police Department social media accounts, primarily Facebook (UCF and UCFPD) and Twitter (@UCF and @UCFPolice).

All students, faculty and staff members are automatically enrolled to receive UCF Alert text and email messages.

To update contact information, log in to your myUCF account. Click on Student or Employee Self Service on the left-hand side. Under Personal Information, click on UCF Alert. Fill in the required information and click save.

UCF students and employees also may add secondary email accounts, such as for a parent or partner

Although closing campus disrupts classes, research and normal university operations, safety is our absolute priority, and in consultation with local and state leaders, the university may decide to close its campuses.

Timing for campus closures is designed to give our community time to prepare before a storm’s forecasted impact and to evacuate if they choose.

Hurricanes are large storms that produce fast winds and heavy rain. There are five types of hurricanes based on wind speed.

Hurricanes can produce heavy flooding and lead to power outages and other hazardous damage. The dangerous wind speeds also make it unsafe for first responders to be on the roads during the height of the storm.

That’s why it’s critical that you have a plan for a safe location to ride-out the storm that includes stocking up on any supplies necessary to sustain you for 72 hours, should the storm’s impact prevent regular businesses and services from immediate reopening once the storm passes.

UCF does not serve as a public shelter during hurricanes.

UCF encourages you to remember that Knights Pantry is available to take donations of any extra, unneeded hurricane supplies. Knights Pantry relies on the support of the UCF community to provide food, toiletries, and clothing to students in need. The Pantry is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and noon to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. Donations can be made around the clock at any of the donation bins spread across campus.

Learn more about Knights Pantry, as well as a list of items in high demand.

Student FAQs

For emergency help, call 911. Wind speed will eventually prevent police, fire and medical from responding. That’s why it’s so important for people to stock up on their medication, build a hurricane kit, and do what they need to do now to ensure their personal safety.

Employee FAQs

Some critical personnel will be required to work after the university ceases operations. Employees should speak with their supervisor concerning essential operations. Supervisors are encouraged to ensure employees who may need to work during the storm have adequate time to prepare their homes and help loved ones prepare for the storm.


example of UCF Alert text message

UCF Alert

All students, faculty and staff members are automatically enrolled to receive UCF Alert text and email messages.

To update contact information, log in to your myUCF account. Click on Student or Employee Self Service on the left-hand side. Under Personal Information, click on UCF Alert. Fill in the required information and click save.

UCF students and employees also may add secondary email accounts, such as for a parent or partner.

Additional Resources and News

National Experts on Hurricanes

UCF has subject-matter experts on a variety of hurricane-related topics, including:

  • Chris Emrich, a public administration professor, founding member of the National Center for Integrated Coastal Research at the University of Central Florida (UCF Coastal), and former FEMA employee, has done extensive research on disaster preparedness, response and recovery. He also provides annual tips on preparing for hurricane season.
  • Kelly Kibler, an expert on water-resource engineering and aquatic ecology, can speak on the following positive benefits that tropical disturbances have made on the Sunshine State.
  • Claire Connolly Knox, Ph.D., an associate professor in the School of Public Administration and serves as the emergency management and homeland security program director, has focused her research on emergency management, coastal hazards and coastal resiliency. She also helps debunks myths about hurricanes. Learn more about her work in emergency and crisis management.
  • Axel Stock, a marketing professor, has expertise in product scarcity. He can speak on the following topics related to the shortage of products.
  • Joe Thalheimer ’08, UCF’s Director of Emergency Management, leads a team of employees during emergency events such as hurricanes and the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Thomas Wahl, a civil engineering professor, researches sea-level rise and coastal flooding as well as sustainable adaption measures that can make coastal cities more resilient to flooding.

Contacts

Police/Fire/Rescue
EMERGENCY: 911
Police (Non–emergency)
407-823-5555
Victim Services
407-823-1200 (24/7 crisis line)
407-823-6868 (24/7 text line)
Housing and Residence Life
Main Office: 407-823-4663
Maintenance: 407-823-5589
Environmental Health & Safety
407-823-6300
Health Services
855-870-3647 (24-Hour Nurse Line)
407-823-2701 (Information)
Employee Assistance Program
877-240-6863
Computer Services & Telecommunications
407-823-2908 or 407-823-0019
Counseling and Psychological Services
407-823-2811 (24-hour crisis line)
Parking Services
407-823-5812
Work Center Control
407-823-5223