Introduction and Definitions


This Community Shelter Operations Plan (CSOP) defines notification procedures, shelter operating guidelines, and specifies the duties of University personnel who are responsible for completion of critical tasks when a severe weather event (tornado) occurs in the local area.


Tornado Warning – A product issued by the National Weather Service (NWS) to local offices indicating a tornado is either imminent or has been reported. A warning indicates the need to take action to protect life and property. 30-60 minutes

Tornado Watch – An indication that the conditions for the formation of a tornado are more favorable than usual for its occurrence. A watch is a recommendation for planning, preparation, and increased awareness (i.e., to be alert for changing weather, listen for further information, and think about what to do if the danger materializes). 3-6 hours

Watch Box (TV) – A severe thunderstorm or tornado watch.

Short-Fuse Warning – A warning by the NWS for a local weather hazard of relatively short duration. Short-fuse warnings include tornado warnings, severe thunderstorm warnings, and flash flood warnings. Tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings typically last for periods of an hour or less, and flash flood warnings typically last for three hours or less.

Community Shelter – The facility located at 323 West Trish Knight Street in West Plains, designed to meet all Federal Emergency Management Agency specifications for severe weather and high wind events.

Secondary Shelter – Areas identified within a building, other than the primary shelter, which offer a similar place of safety. The areas offering the greatest protection are located in the center of the building with no exterior walls, outside windows, skylights or doors. Small areas such as restrooms, offices and interior classrooms offer some protection.

Tornado Protection Zone – The area comprised of residents and businesses in the community that do not have basements or other safe rooms and who live or work within a 1.5 mile radius around the shelter.