A-Z Index

News Release

Nov. 4, 2022

Northwest reminds community to prepare for winter weather

By Kourtnie Stenwall, communication assistant

As the Northwest Missouri State University community begins pulling out their coats, University Police, in conjunction with the National Weather Service and state agencies, is reminding people to be prepared during Missouri Winter Weather Awareness Week Nov. 7-11.

Throughout the week, Northwest and emergency management organizations across Missouri ask people to review hazards and safety rules in preparation for the upcoming winter season. Additionally, University Police will host Cocoa with the Popo, a safe driving and weather preparedness event, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 17, in the J.W. Jones Student Union.

“Midwest winters can pose a wide range of challenges to services, access and transportation that may last for several days,” University Police Lt. Amanda Cullin, who coordinates Northwest’s emergency management operations, said. “It is important to have a plan in place prior to the winter season.”

Northwest communicates campus closures to students and employees through its Bearcat Alert text messaging and email systems as well as official University social media accounts and the University website. When the campus remains open during inclement weather, Northwest students and employees are asked to exercise their own judgement to decide whether they can travel safely to campus.

Northwest provides winter weather safety tips below. For more information related to dealing with winter weather, contact the University Police Department at, or visit the National Weather Service online at or the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency at

Winter weather preparedness tips

  • Dress for the conditions. Wear several layers of lightweight, warm clothing. Layers can be removed to prevent perspiring and subsequent chill. Outer garments should be tightly woven, waterproof and hooded. Wear a hat that covers your ears and mittens, which offer better protection than fingered gloves.
  • Make a plan. Have an emergency plan in place and do as much as possible before an emergency happens. Whether at home or traveling, determine how you will communicate with others and develop a communications plan that includes communication methods and individuals to call.
  • Update your contacts. Add emergency contacts, current work and school numbers and information for emergency services. Designate an out-of-state or out-of-area contact in the event family members cannot immediately communicate locally.
  • Build a kit. Make a preparedness kit or review your existing kit with winter weather in mind. A home emergency kits might contain bottled water, high calorie non-perishable food items, a battery-powered radio, flashlights, extra batteries, portable power or charging pack and a first aid kit.
  • Stay healthy if you plan to be outdoors in cold weather. Drugs, alcohol and over-the-counter or prescription medication can impact your actual and perceived body temperature. Eat well-balanced meals, stay hydrated and consume warm foods and beverages, such as hot chocolate. Know how your body responds to winter weather and stay sober.

Winter weather forecasting

It is important to keep updated on weather forecasts and understand the difference between a watch and a warning. Evaluate current conditions and expected conditions and take those into consideration when making travel plans. Also, know where to go for further information about what to do and where to go during an actual emergency.

  • A winter storm watch indicates severe winter weather may affect your area within 12-48 hours.
  • A winter storm warning indicates severe winter weather is in the area or expected immediately and can be life threatening.
  • An ice storm warning is issued for ice accumulations of a quarter inch or more.
  • A blizzard warning is issued when sustained winds or frequent gusts to 35 miles per hour or greater and considerable amounts of falling or blowing snow (reducing visibility to less than a quarter mile) are expected to prevail for a period of three hours or longer.
  • A frost or freeze warning is issued when below freezing temperatures are expected.
  • Freezing rain is rain that freezes when it hits the ground, creating a coating of ice on roads, walkways, trees and power lines.

Winter weather around the home

  • An ice storm will take down power lines, knocking out electricity. Check battery-powered equipment before the storm arrives.
  • Check your food, water and prescription medications and stock an extra supply if possible. Include food that requires no refrigeration or cooking in case of a power failure. Make sure pets and animals have shelter and a water supply.
  • Be careful when using a fireplace, stove or space heaters. Proper ventilation is essential to avoid a deadly build-up of carbon monoxide. Don’t use charcoal inside as it gives off large amounts of carbon monoxide. Keep flammable material away from space heaters and do not overload electric circuits.
  • Don’t overexert yourself shoveling snow or exercising outside. Winter weather can increase the strain of physical activity.

Winter vehicle safety

  • Winterize your vehicle before winter arrives by checking the ignition system, cooling system, fuel system, battery, lights, tires, heater, breaks, wipers, defroster, oil and exhaust.
  • Keep water out of your fuel tank by keeping it full.
  • If you travel often during the winter, carry a winter emergency kit in your vehicle. Include a sleeping bag or blankets, flashlights, extra batteries, windshield scraper, ice melt, paper towels, extra clothes, waterproof matches and candles, flares, booster cables and battery starter pack, cellphone charger and portable power or charging unit, maps, first aid kit, sand or cat litter, shovel, chains or a tow rope, a spare coat, gloves, a hat and high calorie non-perishable food.
  • Winter travel by vehicle is serious business. If a storm exceeds or tests your driving ability, seek available shelter immediately.
  • Plan your travel. Avoid traveling alone, inform others of your route as well as departure and arrival times and drive in a convoy when possible.
  • Drive carefully and defensively. Know how your vehicle responds to winter road conditions. Contact your vehicle manufacturer or dealership for more information on accelerating, decelerating and stopping on snow or ice-covered roads.


Dr. Mark Hornickel
Administration Building
Room 215