Tornado / Severe Weather

Flood Lightning Winter Weather


A tornado is a violently rotating column of air extending from a thunderstorm to the ground. The average tornado moves from southwest to northeast, but tornadoes have been known to move in any direction. The average forward speed of a tornado is 30 mph, but may vary from almost stationary to 70 mph.

In the southern states, peak tornado occurrence is March through May. Most tornadoes that affect the UNCW area are F0 or F1. Tornadoes in our area are most likely to develop from tropical storms and hurricanes that affect New Hanover County.

The local National Weather Service office is the only entity legally allowed to issue a tornado watch or warning.

Be Ready Poster


Recommended Actions

During a tornado watch:

If safe to do so, report any revolving funnel-shaped clouds to authorities, including University Police and the National Weather Service, Wilmington.

Stay tuned to local media

During a tornado warning:

A tornado is sighted or indicated on radar approaching the campus

After a tornado


When a tornado warning is issued for New Hanover County, or signs of a tornado are seen/heard by UNCW emergency personnel, the outdoor siren system will be activated and the UNCW community will be notified of the warning through UNCW Alert.


While the risk of tornadic activity is low at UNCW, they may often arise with little to no warning. It is incumbent on every member of the UNCW community to take personal responsibility for their safetyand be prepared by knowing what to do in these and other emergencies.


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