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High winds, rainfall, and a darkening cloud cover are the warning signs for possible cloud-to-ground lightning strikes. While many lightning casualties happen at the beginning of an approaching storm, more than fifty percent of lightning deaths occur after the thunderstorm has passed. The lightning threat diminishes after the last sound of thunder, but may persist for more than 30 minutes. When thunderstorms are in the area, but not overhead, the lightning threat can exist when skies are clear.



Stay Informed. Campus advisories and alerts will keep you up to date on expected storm weather and readiness instructions, if necessary.

Severe Storm Watches and Warnings

A severe storm watch indicates that severe weather may affect your area. A severe storm warning indicates that severe weather conditions are definitely on the way.



If you are outdoors:

  • Cautiously move into a building.
  • If it is not possible to move indoors, lay in a low area away from power lines and trees.
  • Avoid downed electric power lines, utility poles, and trees.
  • 90% of lightning victims survive their encounter with lightning, especially with timely medical treatment. Individuals struck by lightning do not carry a charge, and it is safe to touch them and provide medical treatment. Dial 475-3333 to contact Public Safety and to request medical services, then attempt resuscitation measures. If the victim has no pulse, begin cardiac compressions. In cold, wet situations put a protective layer between the victim and the ground to lower the risk of hypothermia.
  • The best defense is to plan ahead and avoid exposure to lightning when a thunderstorm occurs. Know where safe shelter is located and leave enough time to reach safe shelter before your danger level is high. Don't be an isolated tall object, and don't be connected to anything that may be an isolated tall object.

If you are driving:

  • Pull off the road and stop your vehicle away from trees. If possible, walk into a safe building.
  • Avoid overpasses, power lines and other hazards.
  • Listen to your radio for emergency instructions.


  • Check yourself and those around you for injuries.
  • Cautiously evacuate damaged buildings and do not re-enter until declared safe by campus officials.
  • Call 475-3333 v/tty to contact Public Safety to report a life threatening emergency.
  • Campus officials will use email or post fliers with instructions or an official "all clear" notice.

Additional Information

National Weather Service


Staying Informed

RIT's Emergency Line (recorded message): (585) 475-7075 and (585) 475-7076 TTY