Severe Weather Information

In the event the National Weather Service has issued a severe weather warning,  it will be necessary to evacuate all people from campus buildings to the designated shelter areas. The security officer on duty will notify the Mary Commons information desk (switchboard 0 or 363-5011), the Monastery Reception Desk (363-7100), the BAC Information Desk (363-5777) and the Clemens Library Circulation Desk (363-5611).  Those individuals will in turn assist with notifying building occupants.

It is critical that building occupants comply with requests to evacuate to shelter upon request.  Currently, the College of Saint Benedict does not have a campus-wide notification system. Notification requires that officers go from building-to-building to assist occupants to shelter areas. Timing is critical to ensure the safety of all students, staff, faculty and visitors.


  • Keep your "eye on the sky"
  • Listen to AM Radio WWJO 1240
  • Listen to FM Radio WWJON 98.1
  • Watch TV reports
  • Utilize computer access to watch radar maps and updates on severe weather
  • If you have questions, contact one of the information desks
  • Be aware of the location of your shelter areas in your building
  • If you hear Civil Defense Sirens sounding, move to the lower level areas of the building that you are in and stay clear of windows
  • Respond to instructions provided by security officers

Security officers will stay in touch with the Stearns County Sheriff's office and will monitor the activity of county weather spotters. Security officers, along with building managers will be responsible for assisting people to the nearest evacuation shelter on campus. Once security officers receive the all clear and notification that it is safe for occupants to come out of shelter areas, they, along with building managers, will notify persons in shelter areas that they can resume activities.

Remember, officers are listening to local law enforcement officials and have better up-to-date access to information concerning current weather issues than do other individuals.  Wait for the "all clear" from officers before coming out of shelter areas.  Do not rely solely on information you hear on the radio.

SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH:  Is an alert to the possibility of large hail, heavy rain and damaging winds, in a specified area over a specified period of time.

SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING: Confirmation of a line of thunderstorms or severe thunderstorms and location, time of detection, direction and speed of movement.

TORNADO WATCH: Possibility of one or more tornadoes in the area. Continue normal activity, but watch for the storm to increase in intensity.

TORNADO WARNING: A tornado has been sighted or detected by radar and may be approaching.  Be prepared to move to shelter areas.


  • Bad Thunderstorms: Thunder, lightning, hard rain and strong winds
  • Hail: Bullets of ice from a dark, cloudy sky
  • Funnel: A dark, spinning "rope" or column from the sky to the ground
  • Roaring Noise: Like ten jet planes or a hundred railroad trains.


  • Respond by moving to the appropriate shelter areas in the building that you are in.
  • Do not stand outside or stand looking out the window to see what is going on.


  • Do not wait!
  • Go to the appropriate shelter area right away!
  • Curl up on the floor and protect your head and face with your arms and hands.


Residence Halls

Mary Commons Complex

  • Aurora Hall -- Lower Stairwell areas and Career Resources
  • Corona Hall -- Basement Lounge, Laundry Room, hallway and tunnel to Regina
  • Regina -- Lower Stairwell areas, meditation room and the commuter lounge

Housekeeping and custodial maintenance staff should proceed to the lower level of Aurora.
Bookstore staff should secure the bookstore area and proceed to the lower level of Aurora.

All residents and guests should evacuate to the lower level of Margretta and assemble in the hallways to the north and south, the  computer room and the laundry room and away from the center lounge area.  This is to minimize exposure to flying glass.

Residence life staff and security will arrange for the basement level of the building to be opened for building occupants. Access to the basement is in the north stairwell or to the left as you head toward the recycling and garbage garage.

Brian Hall
All occupants should proceed to the lower level hallway. Both east and west end doors should be closed due to the exposure to flying glass and away from the computer area.  All room doors should be closed during a severe weather shelter alert.

West Apartment Community Members
All occupants should proceed to lower level areas of each individual building.  As there is limited space available and exposure to flying glass is inevitable, you should sit on the floor with your back to the wall and cover your head with your arms and hands.  If you have a jacket or coat with you, place that over your
head and face to protect you from flying debris.

East Apartment Community Members
In the event that severe weather is imminent, security will open one of the east main doors to the HAB. Residents and guests in the East Apartments should go to the HAB lower level.

Centennial Townhomes

Occupants should proceed to the Idzerda Commons Building located along College Avenue at the south end of the Centennial Townhomes complex.  Restrooms, hallways, and interior rooms should be utilized whenever possible.  As there is limited space available, you should sit on the floor with your back to the wall.  Cover your head with your arms and hands.  If you have a jacket or coat, place that over your head and face to protect yourself from flying debris. 

Richarda Prep-School Living Area
Occupants should assemble in the old wing on the ground floor. If space becomes an issue, the north stairwell and lower level mechanical space will be utilized.

Academic Areas

Main Building
Faculty, staff, students and guests should proceed to the lower level in the building.  Areas to utilize for shelter are: the Duplicating  Center, the hallways within Physical Plant and Institutional Marketing with office doors shut, the food service hallway areas with  dining room doors shut and extending into the Monastery as necessary.

Occupants should proceed to lower levels of the building EXCEPT those areas directly under the glass link. In an effort to minimize exposure to flying glass and debris, occupants are directed to remain in the old section of the building with the adjoining fire door closed. During normal operating hours the duplicating center and any lower level classrooms in the old section of the building may be utilized.

Building occupants should evacuate to the lower level of the building.  Occupants should congregate in the practice room areas first and then fill lower level areas as necessary.  Interior hallways, green rooms, dressing rooms, lower level restrooms, the costume shop, and the dance studio would be appropriate areas to seek shelter.

If time permits, building occupants should be evacuated to the HAB.  If this cannot be accomplished, all occupants should assemble  in the lower level center hallway utilizing the class room and labs that have no windows or dangerous chemical issues should damage  occur. Available chemistry staff will have to evaluate possible lab use at the time of the shelter needs.

Clemens Library
Library staff have evaluated and marked shelter areas within the building.  Building staff have accepted the responsibility to assemble building occupants in the designated shelter areas.

Richarda Faculty Offices
Faculty and staff should congregate in the ground level hallway with the link access and the east access door closed.  All office doors should be closed to minimize exposure to flying glass and debris.

HCC: Murray Hall and Claire Lynch
Building occupants will be evacuated to the lower level of each area that they are in.  Minimizing exposure to flying glass and debris  is the ultimate goal and all interior areas will be utilized for shelter; locker rooms, restrooms, meeting rooms, interior hallways and the   training room.  AT NO TIME should building occupants be in the field house during severe weather and shelter alerts.  If time   permits, the overhead doors should be closed to separate the fieldhouse from the intramural and office areas.

Gorecki Dining & Conference Center

Building occupants should evacuate to the lower levels of the building.  Occupants should congregate in the kitchen, stairwells, and mechanical rooms (basement level) of this building as their primary shelter areas.  Secondary areas of safety would include interior hallways, offices and restrooms that are away from large glass windows and large open spaces.  Time permitting, additional shelter space would be available in the basements of nearby buildings (BAC, Lottie, Margretta, Brian).