Winter season brings colder temperatures, which bring potential for snow and ice that beget campus closures, delayed official activities, and cancelled classes. It can be a euphoric occasion having a sudden snow day off; yet, harsh winter storms can be inconvenient and lead to a slew of safety risks.

Should an inclement weather closure occur, UTC Emergency Services has plans to react appropriately based on the severity of the storm, but there are several simple measures students and faculty can do to prepare for such an occurrence.

How to Prepare for Inclement Weather at UTC

When a decision is made to change the operations schedule, information is distributed to the campus community via UTC-ALERT in a variety of ways. Via multiple email, text message, main UTC social media accounts, website platforms, shared with on-campus WUTC-FM 88.1, and other local news outlets. Recorded voice messages with status reports are at 423-425-4766. Clear instructions are given to both employees and students of the University whether there is a delay or closing, and if any specific faculty or staff are required to work.

The risks from winter storms can cause several issues:

  • Power lines and trees could collapse due to heavy snow.
  • Frozen pipes can decrease water pressure.
  • Ice could contribute to traffic accidents plus hazards on sidewalks.

So, what can you do to assure your personal winter storm safety?

1) Look Out for Official Updates and News

Via an example in the past; on January 28th, 2019 our leadership decided to close campus down the next day due to snow and ice in the area. Most saw the news via a UTC-ALERT text message that read, “Due to snow and icy conditions forecast for Tuesday, Jan. 29, UTC will be closed. All classes are canceled and all campus offices are closed on Tuesday.” The follow-up message to email, social media post and a UTC News Release blog had more information about student services hours for students, such as the ARC, Crossroads Dining Hall, the Library, etc. It is important to check all our platforms periodically for any updates.
Learn what the UTC-ALERT system does, what the university inclement weather policy states and follow the National Weather Service or the local news stations for specifics on city road conditions that you take to campus.

2) Dress Warmer

Seems like a ‘no brainer’, but dressing warm is highly important. Whether you are having a snow ball fight on campus or the temperature is below freezing with no precipitation, wearing layers plus covering hands, neck, and ears can go a long way. According to a Harvard Medical study, not wearing a hat can lose up to 50% of your body heat through your head. In the same health letter, “What’s more, a cold head can trigger blood vessel constriction in the other parts of the body, so it can make your hands and feet feel cold even if you are wearing mittens and warm socks and shoes.” Choose clothing materials that wick away moisture and are thicker, such as wool or cotton.

3) Be Prepared, Make a Plan

When snow and ice make it difficult to walk across campus or drive, having supplies and a plan can make a difference. Be prepared to keep yourself bundled with layers as described above and invest in heavy blankets. Having portable chargers for your phone or other devices can come in handy, and if the library is open, you can check out temporary chargers for your smartphone. Keeping cases of water, snacks and easy to prep meals can help tide you over for an evening or two. Make a ‘snow day in’ plan with your roommates and friends nearby to help each other out. Watch a movie, play video games and make coffee if the electricity is available, or play board or card games together!

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