By Gloria DeWeese
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (UTC/The Loop) – As students watch the wacky weather waver from day to day, UTC has a department watching for the newest weather developments and alerts.
K. Tim Pridemore, C.F.P.S., Emergency Management Specialist in Safety and Risk Management Department at UTC, said “We have about ten different ways to get the word out.” In addition to the new alert beacons being installed in every classroom, we are in process of framing maps to show the safest tornado shelters on the campus, Pridemore said. He also said, about 10 or 20 different threat factors are monitored consistently.
“Once the heat index goes above 95 degrees, we start watching it. When it goes above 100 degrees, at that point we will typically, in that area, we will start sending out messages to the campus,” Pridemore said.
“Probably the oddest thing of all the threat factors that we watch, the oddest one right here at spaceweather.com,” Pridemore said. “We actually watch for solar flares, and the reason we do that is because the campuses communications system are so heavily dependent on continuity. The radios are wireless.”
Aside from the storms with our unusually high temperatures, pollen is, ironically, not a concern by the department, Pridemore said. “Hay fever is not contagious. We watch more for different strands of the flu or other diseases,” he said.
Although pollen count is not an issue the department monitors, students affected by seasonal allergies say :
“The worst effect from the temperatures is my sinuses,” Jameese Cox said, Cleveland, junior.
“My allergies are the biggest issue with the weather from pollen,” Ben Cocilo said, Los Angeles, Calif., senior.
“My allergies are killing me,” Caleb Powell said, Chattanooga, sophomore.
“My eyes start watering, my nose starts running. It’s very aggravating when running outside. I just want my legs to run, not my nose,” Jaya Todai said, Houston, TX, freshman.
Pridemore said, “Pollen count poses no significant threat. They (Sinuses) are uncomfortable. They are something to cry about and they, definitely, are something to sneeze at.”
Whether storms, solar flares, or snotty noses, the wacky weather has many effects on students’ campus life. Pridemore and the Department of Safety and Risk Management watch for what weather wonders or threats April brings.