Winter Weather

Storm Watch

When severe winter weather threatens your area, a Winter Storm Watch is generally given. If you plan to be outdoors for a long time period or plan to travel, be sure to watch out for changing weather conditions.

Storm Warning

A Winter Storm Warning means that severe winter weather conditions have been spotted and are on the way to your area. Travel plans should be minimized.

Blizzard Warning

A blizzard warning means large amounts of falling or blowing snow with winds of at least 35 miles per hour are expected for several hours. Travel is not recommended during a Blizzard Warning.  You should remain indoors.

Wind Chill

Wind can pose a hazard to you and your skin during winter season. Wind Chill Equivalent Index is a calculation of how cold it feels outside when temperature and wind speed are combined. When winds combine with freezing temperatures the result is an air temperature that can feel as much as 35 degrees colder.

Frostbite and Hypothermia

A loss of feeling and a white or pale appearance in fingers, toes, nose or ear lobes are symptoms of frostbite. Hypothermia occurs when body temperature drops to less than 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Uncontrollable shivering, slow speech, memory lapses, frequent stumbling, drowsiness and exhaustion are symptoms of hypothermia. If you suspect frostbite or hypothermia, you should:

  • Begin warming the victim slowly and seek immediate medical assistance.
  • Warm the victim’s upper body first. Arms and legs should be warmed last because stimulation of the limbs can drive cold blood toward the heart and lead to heart failure.
  • Never give a frostbite or hypothermia victim something with caffeine or alcohol in it. Caffeine can cause the heart to beat faster and hasten the effects the cold has on the body. Alcohol can slow the heart and also hasten the ill effects of cold body temperatures.

Walking in Winter Conditions

  • Dress in Layers
  • Wear boots with nonskid soles
  • Walk on sidewalks if possible
  • Don’t wear clothing that blocks your vision and makes you hard to see.
  • Walk slowly and never run on icy ground
  • Keep both hands free for balance
  • Use handrails from start to finish
  • Avoid carrying loads on stairways; or carry loads that you can see over
  • Look where your going
  • Step carefully out of a vehicle
  • Walk carefully when going up or down a ramp or step

Driving in Winter Conditions

  • Avoid driving in snow or ice storms.  If you must travel drive slowly.
  • Don’t sit in a park car with engine running unless windows are open.
  • Make sure the exhaust pipe and area around it are free of snow before you start the car.
  • Keep emergency gear in your car
  • Avoid driving in snow or ice storms.  If you must travel drive slowly.
  • Don’t sit in a park car with engine running unless windows are open.
  • Make sure the exhaust pipe and area around it are free of snow before you start the car.


  • If you are caught outdoors immediately get into a building or vehicle. Don’t wait for the rain to begin.
  • If you’re unable to get inside, remove all metal and your baseball cap, crouch down with feet together in pitcher-stance, duck your head and cover ears, becoming as small a target with as little contact with the ground as possible.
  • Avoid picnic and canopy shelters.
  • Avoid trees, water, high ground and open fields.
  • Avoid metal objects i.e. flag poles, light poles, bleachers, etc.
  • If you are indoors, stay away from windows and doors and out of water.

Lightning strikes can cause electrical surges and power outages on campus. See Utility Failure for more information.

Thorguard Lightning Warning System

A Thorguard Lightning Warning System has been installed at the College Golf Course.

If the system detects lightning in a 2 mile radius, the warning horn at the Golf Course and Youngman Field will sound once and the lights will begin to flash at the following locations:

  • Golf Course
  • Youngman Field
  • Dragone Track
  • Baseball Diamond
  • Athletic fields
  • Proctor Tennis Courts
  • Atwater Tennis Courts

When the threat of lightning has passed, the warning horn will sound three short blasts and the lights will stop flashing.

The system operates from 7:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. each day.


If a hurricane is likely in your area, you should:

  • Listen to the radio or TV for information.
  • Secure your home, close storm shutters, and secure outdoor objects or bring them indoors.
  • Turn off utilities if instructed to do so.
  • Avoid using the phone, except for serious emergencies.

You should evacuate under the following conditions:

  • If you are directed by local authorities to do so. Be sure to follow their instructions.
  • If you live in a mobile home or temporary structure—such shelters are particularly hazardous during hurricanes no matter how well fastened to the ground.
  • If you live in a high-rise building—hurricane winds are stronger at higher elevations.
  • If you live on the coast, on a floodplain, near a river, or on an inland waterway.
  • If you feel you are in danger.

If you are unable to evacuate, go to your safe room. If you do not have one, follow these guidelines:

  • Stay indoors during the hurricane and away from windows and glass doors.
  • Close all interior doors—secure and brace external doors.
  • Keep curtains and blinds closed. Do not be fooled if there is a lull; it could be the eye of the storm - winds will pick up again.
  • Take refuge in a small interior room, closet, or hallway on the lowest level.
  • Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.


Tornadoes are nature’s most violent storms. Spawned from powerful thunderstorms, tornadoes can cause fatalities and devastate a neighborhood in seconds.

  • Tornado Watch: indicates tornadoes are possible. You should remain alert for approaching storms and watch the sky. Also stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for further information.
  • Tornado Warning: indicates that a tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. You should take shelter immediately!

Be alert to changing weather conditions.

  • Listen to NOAA Weather Hazards Radio or go to commercial radio or television newscasts for the latest information.
  • Look for approaching storms.
  • Look for the following danger signs, including dark, often greenish sky, large hail, a large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating), a loud roar, similar to a freight train.
  • If you see approaching storms or any of the danger signs, be prepared to take shelter immediately.

Do not drive during tornado conditions. Vehicles are not safe.

  • Never try to out-drive a tornado in a vehicle. Tornadoes can change direction quickly and can lift a car or truck and toss it through the air.
  • Get out of your vehicle immediately and seek shelter in a nearby building.
  • If there is no time to get indoors, or if there is no nearby shelter, get out of the car and lie in a ditch or a low-lying area away from the vehicle. Be aware of the potential for flooding.

Flooding Information

If a flood is likely in your area, you should:

  • Listen to the radio or television for information.
  • Be aware that flash flooding can occur. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move.
  • Be aware of streams, drainage channels, canyons, and other areas known to flood suddenly. Flash floods can occur in these areas with or without such typical warnings as rain clouds or heavy rain.
  • If you must prepare to evacuate, you should do the following:
  • Secure your home. If you have time, bring in outdoor furniture. Move essential items to an upper floor.
  • Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so. Disconnect electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.

If you have to leave your home, remember these evacuation tips:

  • Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
  • Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle can be quickly swept away.

Driving Flood Facts

The following are important points to remember when driving in flood conditions:

  • Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling.
  • A foot of water will float many vehicles.
  • Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles.

Historically heavy rains and flooding in Vermont mountains has damaged roadways and bridges. Road closures in the surrounding areas are not uncommon.