Understand Snowstorms & Extreme Cold Safety:

Winter storms create a higher risk of car accidents, hypothermia, frostbite, carbon monoxide poisoning, and heart attacks from overexertion. Winter Storms and blizzards can bring extreme cold, freezing rain, snow, ice, and high winds. A Winter Storm can: 

  • Last a few hours or several days;
  • Knock out heat, power, and communication services; and
  • Create hazardous walking, driving, and cycling conditions.
Snow Cloud Incon Powerlines Icon
Can last a few hours or several days Can knock out communication services
Car swerving Icon Power cutoff icon
Create hazardous driving conditions Can cause power outages

Watch vs. Warning:

Winter Weather Advisories are issued when snow, blowing snow, ice, sleet, or a combination of these wintry elements is expected but conditions should not be hazardous enough to meet warning criteria. Be prepared for winter driving conditions and possible travel difficulties. Use caution when driving.

Freezing Rain Advisories are issued when light ice accumulation (freezing rain and/or freezing drizzle) is expected but will not reach warning criteria. Expect a glaze on roads resulting in hazardous travel. Slow down and use caution while driving because even trace amounts of ice on roads can be dangerous.

Wind Chill Advisories are issued when low wind chill temperatures are expected but will not reach local warning criteria. Extremely cold air and strong winds will combine to generate low wind chill readings. If you must venture outdoors, take precautions against frostbite and hypothermia.


Blizzard Watches are issued when there is a potential for falling and/or blowing snow with strong winds and extremely poor visibilities. This can lead to whiteout conditions and make travel very dangerous.

Winter Storm Watches are issued when conditions are favorable for a significant winter storm event (heavy sleet, heavy snow, ice storm, heavy snow and blowing snow or a combination of events.)

Wind Chill Watches are issued when there is the potential for a combination of extremely cold air and strong winds to create dangerously low wind chill values. 


Blizzard Warnings are issued for frequent gusts greater than or equal to 35 mph accompanied by falling and/or blowing snow, frequently reducing visibility to less than 1/4 mile for three hours or more. A Blizzard Warning means severe winter weather conditions are expected or occurring. Falling and blowing snow with strong winds and poor visibilities are likely, leading to whiteout conditions making travel extremely hazardous. Do not travel. If you must travel, have a winter survival kit with you. If you get stranded, stay with your vehicle and wait for help to arrive.

Winter Storm Warnings are issued for a significant winter weather event including snow, ice, sleet, blowing snow or a combination of these hazards. Travel will become difficult or impossible in some situations. Delay your travel plans until conditions improve.

Ice Storm Warnings are usually issued for ice accumulation of around 1/4 inch or more. This amount of ice accumulation will make travel dangerous or impossible and likely lead to snapped power lines and falling tree branches. Travel is strongly discouraged.

Wind Chill Warning are issued for a combination of very cold air and strong winds that will create dangerously low wind chill values. This level of wind chill will result in frostbite and lead to hypothermia if precautions are not taken. Avoid going outdoors and wear warm protective clothing if you must venture outside. 

Actions for a Snowstorm & Extreme Cold:  
Before a Snowstorms & Extreme Cold:

Be Weather-Ready: Check the forecast regularly to see if you're at risk for winter weather. Listen to local news or check the Norman National Weather Service website to stay informed about winter weather watches and warnings.

Sign up for MSU Alerts: The number one way to receive an emergency alert from MSU Texas is through an MSU Alert. Visit MSU ALERT for more information on how to sign up and keep your information up to date. 

Download MSU Safety App: Safety starts with you! Download the MSU Safety app available on the Apple app store and the Google play store. The app lets you have access to critical information right in your hand when it matters most.

Build or Re-Stock Your Kit: Have critical items to help you survive before help arrives. During large-scale disasters, help could be delayed.

University Closure: Food services (cafeteria) will still be operational for persons on campus. 

During a Snowstorms & Extreme Cold:

Stay Weather-Ready: Continue to listen to local news and the National Weather Service to stay updated about winter weather watches and warnings. 

Around the University: Be careful if walking or driving during or after a snow or ice storm to avoid physical injury. Be aware of tree branches that could break when under extra pressure from ice and snow.

Outside: Wear several layers of loose-fitting clothing, mittens, a hat, and a face cover when outside. Stay dry. Be extra cautious in the wind. Even in only moderately cold weather, a strong wind can cause a wind chill far below freezing. 

Health: At first signs of possible frostbite, redness, or pain in any skin area, get out of the cold or protect any exposed skin. Watch for hypothermia symptoms: confusion, drowsiness, slurred speech, a drop in blood pressure, shallow breathing, and a pinkish tint to the skin. 

Driving: Stay off the roads if possible. Be aware of black ice.

University Closure: For MSU Texas closure information, visit www.msutexas.edu, the MSU Texas Twitter, Facebook, Instagram pages, or call (940) 397-4000. You will also be alerted via MSU Alert if there is a campus closure. Local media outlets are also helpful but are not the primary source of such information.

After a Snowstorms & Extreme Cold:

Stay Informed: Continue to listen to local news or the National Weather Service to stay updated about Winter Weather watches and warnings. 

Contact Your Family and Loved Ones:  Let your family and close friends know that you're okay so they can help spread the word. Text messages or social media are more reliable forms of communication than phone calls.

Follow Emergency Personnel: Listen to university officials and follow their guidance. Watch for hazards and damages. Contact MSU PD if you see a down power line. 

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