Bad Weather Communication
Severe weather occurs throughout the year in North Texas and comes in many forms. Blue Ridge ISD campuses and departments have received training regarding real-time situational awareness and protective actions needed when severe weather has been forecasted or is imminent. Procedural steps and emergency drills are aligned with standards established by the National Weather Service. These standards allow the district to appropriately prepare for, respond to and recover from severe weather incidents.
Blue Ridge ISD is located in North Texas, where Spring weather brings frequent thunderstorms that include, but are not limited to, cloud to ground lightning, strong wind gusts, heavy rain, hail, and tornadoes. Summer brings hot, dry conditions which can spark occasional wildfires near the district. During the Winter, Blue Ridge ISD is susceptible to occasional multi-inch snow storms and ice storms.
Thunderstorms and Tornadoes
Blue Ridge ISD receives severe weather alerts, including watch and warning information, from the local National Weather Service (NWS) forecast office. Before a severe weather incident occurs, the NWS Storm Prediction Center (SPC) issues severe weather forecast information using risk category levels to help the public better understand the threat.
When the SPC issues a forecast indicating severe weather conditions are likely or expected, SPC severe weather forecast information, once published by NWS, is distributed to Blue Ridge ISD leadership personnel, including campus administrators and departmental supervisors. These staff ensure appropriate campus-level and facility-level monitoring and necessary protective actions based on the watch and warning information.
Shelter-in-Place actions are immediately implemented when a NWS-issued Tornado Warning is issued for the campus location, or when a local jurisdiction activates outdoor warning sirens due to the presence of severe hail or straight-line winds that exceed preset jurisdictional alerting criteria. Shelter-in-Place actions are also implemented when a Severe Thunderstorm Warning has been issued for storm cells with “destructive” damage characteristics, which mimic a tornado.
Given enough advance warning, all district students and staff members will immediately report to the F-5 tornado rated Blue Ridge Elementary Gymnasium/Tornado Shelter.
Shelter-in-Place involves moving students, staff and visitors to the safest possible pre-designated locations, which varies by campus. Any parents in vehicles queued for arrival or dismissal will be invited inside to seek shelter. Due to time considerations and urgent protective actions needed during a weather emergency, parents will not be able to check students out or join their students’ designated shelter areas. Parents attempting to reach a campus while Shelter-in-Place actions are underway will receive an outgoing voice message regarding the severe weather emergency. Once the weather emergency has passed and the severe weather warning has expired, the campus will return to normal operations.
Snow and Ice
To ensure situational awareness when winter weather is forecast, Blue Ridge ISD monitors overnight briefing calls hosted by the local National Weather Service (NWS) forecast office. At the conclusion of these pre-dawn NWS coordination calls, a weather briefing is then provided to District leadership regarding the latest forecast data.
District personnel also drive bus routes and report back to District leadership the condition of the roads, which enables real-time decision making in regards to any potential winter weather closures.
Once hazardous winter weather travel conditions on streets and thoroughfares have been confirmed, a decision regarding a closure or delay will be made.
During the school day, the district will monitor NWS forecast models, check road conditions, and may release school early in order to ensure the safety of staff and students while traveling.