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Winter Weather Awareness

As we move into the winter weather season, it is a good time for employees to review SDBOR Policy 4:40 and SDSU Policy 10:7 regarding emergency closings. 

Unless an emergency closing is announced, all SDSU employees including faculty are expected to report to work. However, during inclement weather, all employees are urged to use their own discretion in deciding whether they can safely commute to work. 

Campus Alert System

The university will use its campus alert system to notify employees of a closing or class cancellation. Additionally, the closing or cancellation will be announced to local radio stations and/or other media. The campus alert system can notify you via email, phone call and/or text message. You will need to ensure your information is correct in the system for how you want to be contacted in an emergency.
Instructions on updating campus alert information

When an emergency closing has not been declared, employees who do not report to work or wish to leave early have the option of taking vacation, accrued compensatory time, leave without pay or adjusting the work week. Employees who feel they cannot safely reach the worksite must take appropriate action to notify their supervisor that they will be absent from work. In the event offices at a campus are closed, employees not required to perform essential functions during the emergency will be granted paid administrative leave. Essential employees are determined by the supervisor and the applicable Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP). 

For questions regarding appropriate leave usage during inclement weather or emergency closure, please contact Human Resources at 605-688-4128.

SDSU employees, including those at the extension, research and teaching centers around the state, need to stay alert and should confirm any closures or cancellations with their immediate supervisor. Those employees with a different BOR institution in their local area may opt in to receive the alerts from that institution as well.

If you are traveling, make sure others are aware of your travel. A great way to do this is by using the RAVE Guardian App.
Jackrabbits Guardian

Winter Weather Advisory

Potentially dangerous winter weather is expected within the next 12-36 hours or is occurring. Travel difficulties are expected.

When any of the following criteria is expected to occur:

  • Snow: >3-6" in 12 hours or 5-8" in 24 hours
  • Sleet: <1/2" in 24 hours
  • Ice: <1/4"
  • Blowing Snow: Visibility occasionally reduced to 1/4 mile due to blowing snow with winds less than 35 mph.
  • On the Road: Unplowed/less traveled roads may be slick; drive with caution. If blowing snow is occurring, drive at a safe speed and leave plenty of space between you and others.  
  • At Home: Make sure you have the proper snow removing equipment to clear your sidewalks and driveways.

Be aware.

Winter Storm Warning

Dangerous winter weather is expected within the next 12-36 hours or is occurring. Considerable travel problems are expected.

When any of the following criteria is expected to occur:  

  • Snow: >6" in 12 hours or >8" in 24 hours
  • Sleet: 1/2" or more
  • On the Road: Seriously consider postponing any non-essential driving. If you must drive, carry a winter survival kit in your car and be prepared for delays.  
  • At Home: Make sure you have the proper snow removing equipment to clear your sidewalks and driveways. If an exceptionally high amount of snow is forecast, be prepared to remain at home for a day or two.

Take action.

Blizzard Warning

Severe winter weather is expected within the next 12-36 hours or is occurring — including whiteout conditions.

Sustained wind or frequent gusts greater than or equal to 35 mph will accompany falling and/or blowing snow to frequently reduce visibility to less than or equal to 1/4 mile for three or more hours.  

  • On the Road: Refrain form driving except in emergency situations, especially in open country.  Always carry a winter survival kit in your car if you must drive. High winds and white-out conditions will make driving extremely dangerous.  
  • At Home: Be prepared to remain at home for a few days, especially if you live in a rural area. Snow drifts may be higher than 10 feet, so make sure you have the proper snow removing equipment.  

Take action.

Precipitation Definitions

  • Snow: Frozen precipitation that never melts during its descent to the surface.
  • Sleet: Frozen precipitation falls through a warm layer and melts, then falls through another cold layer that is deep enough to refreeze the raindrops into pellets before hitting the ground.
  • Freezing Rain: Frozen precipitation falls through a warm layer and melts, then falls on surfaces that are below freezing and solidifies, resulting in an even coating of ice on streets, trees, cars and power lines.
  • Rain: frozen precipitation that falls through a deep warm layer and melts into liquid before reaching the ground. Water droplets are classified as rain if they are 0.5 millimeters or greater in size, whereas droplets smaller than 0.5 millimeters are classified as drizzle.

Questions About Snow Squalls

What are they?

Quick intense bursts of snow accompanied by strong gusty winds. Short-lived. Typically less than 3 hours. Normally occur during the day.

What are the impacts?

Rapidly reduced visibility. Treacherous travel conditions. Potential chain-reaction accidents.

What is a snow squall warning?

Warning is usually 30-60 minutes in length, issued for small areas where snow squalls are expected. Similar to Tornado or Severe Thunderstorm Warning.

How can you stay safe?

Have a way to get forecasts and warnings. Consider an alternate route or delaying travel. Stay alert for rapidly changing road conditions. Reduce speed and use low beam headlights.

Weather Safety

Winter Travel

  • Road Trip Safety Tips
  • Share your travel plans with friends or family
  • Winterize your vehicle
  • Pack an emergency supply kit
  • Check road conditions
  • Get the weather forecast

NWS Video - Items to include in your vehicle's winter survival kit

 Additional winter preparedness information can be found at: