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Winter Storms

President's Council

When a severe winter storm occurs on campus during normal school hours, the President’s Council decides whether the campus will close or whether employees should leave work early.

Students and employees will be notified of updates through official emails, texts, myBYUI homepage banners and radio stations (FM 94.3 or FM 91.5).

Faculty: If a class is in session when the storm hits, do not dismiss class. Wait for further instructions about when to leave the safety of the buildings. When notified it is safe to leave campus, please do so without delay.

Students, faculty, and staff who question whether the university will be open after a major overnight storm should await updates via email.


During a thunderstorm, it is important to remain indoors, as lightning is a constant hazard during a thunderstorm. Here are some guiding principles from the CDC.

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Avoid contact with corded phones and devices including those plugged into electric for recharging. Cordless and wireless phones not connected to wall outlets are OK to use.

Avoid contact with electrical equipment or cords. Unplug appliances and other electrical items such as computers and turn off air conditioners. Power surges from lightning can cause serious damage.

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Avoid contact with plumbing. Do not wash your hands, do not take a shower, do not wash dishes, and do not do laundry. Plumbing and bathroom fixtures can conduct electricity.

Avoid contact with anything metal—tractors, farm equipment, motorcycles, golf carts, golf clubs, and bicycles.

Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches.

Take shelter in a sturdy building. Avoid isolated sheds or other small structures in open areas.

Do not lie on concrete floors, and do not lean against concrete walls.

Avoid hilltops, open fields, the beach, or a boat on the water.

Avoid natural lightning rods such as a tall, isolated tree in an open area.

If you are driving, try to safely exit the roadway and park. Stay in the vehicle and turn on the emergency flashers until the heavy rain ends. Avoid touching metal or other surfaces that conduct electricity in and outside the vehicle.


The following are situations you might find yourself in during a tornado. Here’s how to act in each situation.

If you are in a structure such as a residence, small building, school, nursing home, hospital, factory, shopping center, or high-rise building:

  • Go to a pre-designated area such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar, or the lower building level. If there is no basement, go to the center of a small interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect your head and neck.
  • In a high-rise building, go to a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible.
  • Put on sturdy shoes.
  • Do not open windows.

If you are in a manufactured home or office:

  • Get out immediately and go to a pre-identified location such as the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building or a storm shelter. Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes.

If you are outside with no shelter:
If you are not in a sturdy building, there is no single research-based recommendation for what last-resort action to take because many factors can affect your decision. Possible actions include:

  • Immediately get into a vehicle, buckle your seat belt, and try to drive to the closest sturdy shelter. If your vehicle is hit by flying debris while you are driving, pull over and park.
  • Take cover in a stationary vehicle. Put the seat belt on and cover your head with your arms and a blanket, coat or other cushion if possible.
  • Lie in an area noticeably lower than the level of the roadway and cover your head with your arms and a blanket, coat or other cushion if possible.

In all situations:

  • Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.
  • Never try to outrun a tornado in urban or congested areas in a car or truck. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter.
  • Watch out for flying debris. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries.