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Severe Weather Safety

Ferris State may occasionally be impacted by a severe weather event. The best way to stay up to date with weather that may effect our campuses is to sign up for emergency text alerts.

Sign up for Text Alerts

Winter Weather Emergencies

In the case of extreme winter weather conditions the University may close for a period of time. Ferris State will communicate detailed information regarding any closures via your email address, your cell phone if you have signed up for to receive text messages, the University's homepage, and local media outlets.

See University Closure or Cancelling Classes Policy

Severe Storms and Tornadoes

It's important to be aware of how to keep yourself safe during a thunderstorm or tornado. Make sure you know where the severe weather shelter areas on campus are.

The National Weather Service issues severe weather watches and warnings to keep you up to date on potentially dangerous situations. A "watch" (Severe Storm Watch, Tornado Watch, etc.) means that the conditions are favorable for dangerous weather. A "warning" means that a severe storm or tornado has been spotted and you should seek shelter immediately.

If a Tornado Warning is Issued 

  • Immediately walk to the designated tornado shelter area closest to you. The location of the shelter in each building has been selected based on specific tornado safety criteria.
  • Please note, individuals with disabilities may need assistance make their way to tornado shelter areas.
  • If you are in a building you are unfamiliar with, move to the lowest level of the building, find an interior area such as a interior hallway, closet or bathroom. Seek refuge under a table or desk, kneeling face down with your hands covering your head. If available, cover yourself with a coat, blanket or other such material. 
  • Avoid areas with a larger roof span that may collapse such as auditoriums, gymnasiums, etc. 
  • Stay away from windows, glass, and unsecured objects such as filing cabinets and bookcases
  • Do not use elevators
  • Remain in the safe area until you receive an "all clear" message from the Ferris State Police or local public safety agencies.


The National Weather Service provides the following guidance to help keep you safe from lightning.

  • No place outside is safe when thunderstorms are in the area
  • If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you
  • When you hear thunder, immediately move to safe shelter: a substantial building with electricity or plumbing or an enclosed, metal-topped vehicle with windows up
  • Stay in safe shelter at least 30 minutes after you hear the last sound of thunder.

Thor Guard Lightning Prediction System

The Thor Guard Lightning Prediction system located at the Katke Golf course provides advanced warning of lightning strikes on the Big Rapids, Michigan campus.

Access Thor Guard

  • When the Thor Guard system indicates “Red Alert,” immediately move to safe shelter: a substantial building with electricity or plumbing or an enclosed, metal-topped vehicle with windows up.
  • Stay in safe shelter until the Thor Guard system indicates an “All Clear” condition.
  • The Thor Guard constantly monitors conditions and may indicate “Red Alert” moments after an “All Clear” indication or when there is no apparent danger.
  • Thor Guard Alert Tone at Katke Golf Course: Steady horn blast with flashing light – seek shelter.
  • Thor Guard All Clear Tone at Katke Golf Course: 3 short horn blasts – 5 seconds apart – resume activity.