(416) Severe Weather & Lightning

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Updated 6/12


Severe Weather Procedures

Should severe weather occur, seek shelter immediately in the designated safe shelter nearest you.
A safe shelter is defined as any sturdy, fully enclosed, substantial, and frequently inhabited building that has plumbing and/or electrical wiring that acts to electrically ground the structure. Examples of locations that DO NOT meet the criteria above include:

  • Baseball/softball dugouts
  • Baseball/softball “covered” batting cages
  • Canopy/awning/tent

If you are unable to reach a safe shelter you need to avoid the following objects: the tallest trees in the area, light poles, flag poles, metal fences or bleachers, standing pools of water and open fields. Avoid being the tallest object in the area and do not take shelter under a single, tall tree. Any vehicle with a hard metal roof (not a convertible or golf cart) and rolled up windows will provide a safe shelter. Do not touch the side of the vehicle. It is not the tires that make the vehicle safe; it is the hard metal roof that dissipates the lightning strike that protects you. Stay away from areas with machinery, electrical equipment or dangerous materials. Avoid using shower facilities for safe shelter and do not use showers, plumbing or land line telephones during a thunderstorm. Cellular telephones are a safe alternative to use if you are within a safe structure.

If you feel your hair stand on end or your skin tingle you should immediately crouch down on the balls of your feet with your arms wrapped around your knees and your head down. Do not lie flat on the ground. Minimize your body’s surface area and minimize contact with the ground.

Designated Safe Shelter Areas

Academic Center

  • Occupants should move to the Anderson Strength Center Olympic Sports Locker Rooms on the lower level or the interior hallway on the lower level North of Anschutz Pavilion

Allen Fieldhouse

  • 1st floor interior offices or rooms without glass or windows
  • 1st floor corridor on the west side
  • Media Room on the 1st level, NW corner
  • Visitors’ Locker rooms on the 1st level, SW or SE corners
  • CAUTION: Stay out of the arena, the second and third floor concourse, and the 1st level East corridor connected to the Booth Family Hall of Athletics. These areas are NOT safe shelters.

Alvamar Golf Facility

  • Clubhouse

Anderson Family Football Complex

  • Lower level corridor, locker rooms, offices without windows
  • Weight Room
  • Mrkonic Conference Room
  • This facility should NOT be occupied during severe weather
  • Occupants should move to the corridors and hallway on the 1st floor away from windows

Anschutz Pavilion

  • This facility should NOT be occupied during severe weather. The arena and the Strength Room are not safe areas.
  • Occupants should seek shelter in the corridors on the first floor outside of the Pavilion (North side) or go to the Olympic Sports Locker Rooms

Arrocha Ball Park

  • Spectators should move to the nearest entrance of Allen Fieldhouse as quickly as possible
  • Teams should proceed to the visitors’ locker rooms on the SW or SE corners of Allen Fieldhouse

Donor Atrium

  • 2nd floor Parrott Athletic Center hallway and adjacent meeting rooms without glass or windows

Hoglund Ball Park

  • Spectators should move to the nearest entrance to Allen Fieldhouse as quickly as possible
  • Visiting team go to visitors’ locker rooms on the SW or SE corners of Allen Fieldhouse
  • Home team go to locker room in McCarthy Family Clubhouse

Horejsi Family Complex

  • The arena is NOT considered a safe shelter area. Move occupants to the public rest rooms in the lobby or the Volleyball locker room
  • CAUTION: This facility should not be occupied during severe weather if at all possible. IF SAFE to leave building, cross into Allen Fieldhouse

Jayhawk Soccer Field

  • Spectators should move to the nearest entrance of Allen Fieldhouse as quickly as possible
  • Teams should proceed to the visitors’ locker rooms on the SW or SE corners of Allen Fieldhouse

Jayhawk Tennis Center

  •  Locker room (not the showers)

McCarthy Family Clubhouse

  • Lower-level locker room (not the showers)

Memorial Stadium

  •  Enclosed offices or rooms under the stadium including locker rooms
  • Stay clear of large entry doors
  • Time permitting, fans should be directed to the parking garage, Kansas Union, or other designated safe places on campus

Nesmith Training Room

  • Reserved for use as emergency first aid station if necessary

Parrott Athletic Center

  • 1st floor offices or rooms without glass or windows
  • 1st floor hallways at a safe distance from the breezeway entrance

Practice Gym

  • Interior corridor connecting Wagnon and Parrott, excluding Nesmith Training Room

RimRock Farm

  • Vans or other vehicles on cours
  • Stay away from open fields or the tallest tree

Rowing Boathouse

  • Locker room (excluding showers)
  • Interior meeting rooms without glass or windows

Wagnon Student Athlete Center

  • 1st floor rooms without glass or windows
  • 1st floor corridors away from entrances (e.g., Hadl Auditorium and restrooms)

Emergency Evacuation Plan – during game

Threatening weather may require that a facility be evacuated. If the Assistant Athletic Director of Facilities/Events (Game Administrator) in consultation with other university officials deems it necessary, event staff and emergency personnel will be notified to assist in clearing the facility in a safe and timely manner.

Emergency Numbers:

Emergency 911
KU Public Safety ( Non Emergency) 864-5900
Associate Athletics Director of Facilities/ Events 331-5329
Kansas Athletics Security ( for use outside of normal business hours) 691-5227
Game Day administrator ( press box)( only for Football, Relays, and Commencement) 864-4808
Facilities Management Office 864-4210

Lightning Policy

Coaches, officials and administrators who are responsible for the safety of student-athletes should follow safety precautions to avoid inherent risk and injury associated with lightning.

The decision to suspend a game or practice will be based on the following information systems:

1. Internet Web Sites: www.televent.com, www.weather.com and www.weather.dtn/dtnweather/ The Game Administrator and the athletic training staff will check the weather daily prior to practice or a game. A weather report will be obtained from one of the internet services. In addition, a Sky Scan lightning detection device may also be used to help determine the occurrence of lightning in the area. These reports will be monitored for storms that may develop during scheduled practice times.

2. “Flash-to-Bang” Method: May be used as a secondary method of monitoring lightening. It requires no equipment and is an easy way to determine the distance from the last lightning strike. This method is performed by beginning a count, which is equivalent to one second at the time you see a flash of light and continue counting until you hear the thunder. Take that number and divide by 5 to determine the distance in miles that the strike was from you. An example, if you counted thirty seconds, this would indicate that the strike was approximately 6 miles away.

3. If lightning is indicated within 20-40 miles, the Game Administrator or a member of the athletic training staff will begin to observe the sky for signs of severe weather. If lightning is detected, the “Flash-to-Bang” method will be used to determine the distance of the lightning from the practice or game site. Since the average lightning bolt is six miles long, a “flash-bang” count of 40 or less indicates increased lightning strike danger, and play/practice should be suspended. Additionally, remember that blue skies and the absence of rain does not mean that you are safe from lightning. Lightning can strike as far as 10 miles away from the rain shaft.

4. Activity should be suspended and all persons should seek safe shelter when lightening is within 8 miles or less (a Flash-to-Bang count of 40 seconds or less).

5. In the event of danger from severe weather, the certified athletic trainer will notify the supervising coach at practices; the Game Administrator will notify the head coach and game officials at games. If appropriate, the certified athletic trainer or the Game Administrator must recommend that play be suspended at that time and that shelter should be taken. The decision to stop during an official game or contest rests with the official or referee officiating the game or contest. The Game Administrator, head coaches of the home or visiting teams, or the certified athletic trainer of the home institution should be able to confer with the game official to stop play during dangerous lightning activity. Stoppage of play should be based on the guidelines presented above.

6. During any of the above situations, individuals, athletes or staff who feel they are in danger of lightning have the right to leave the field and seek safe shelter.

7. Once play has been suspended, everyone involved with the practice or game will seek shelter in designated “safe structures.”

8. No contest should be resumed until all lightning activity within an 8 mile radius (40 second count) has ceased for 30 consecutive minutes.

Return to Activity

Once a game or practice has been suspended, the storm should continue to be monitored. No contest or practice should be resumed until all lightning activity within an 8 mile radius (40 second count) for 30 consecutive minutes and/or the lightning detector indicates that lightning is greater than 20 miles away.


In the event that a person is struck by lightning do not hesitate to assist him/her; unlike electrical victims individuals struck by lightning do not carry a charge so they may be safely handled. Activate the emergency medical system (call 911). If the victim is not breathing, yet has a pulse, begin mouth to mouth resuscitation. If a pulse is absent as well, it is imperative to initiate and sustain cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) as soon as possible. The administration of CPR to a victim who appears dead can reverse cardiopulmonary arrest. If available, use an AED (automatic external defibrillator). If there are multiple victims, aid should be administered to the apparently “dead” first. Keep in mind, for the safety of the rescuer, the possibility of a second strike within the immediate area.