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Severe Storms

Tornados are rare events in the Northeast, however they are still possible. In the past decade New York has experienced a handful of low-level tornados. New York also experiences gustnados which the National Weather Service describes as being "wispy," or visible as a debris cloud or dust whirl at or near the ground. Wind speeds can reach 60 to 80 mph, resulting in significant damage, similar to that of a F0 or F1 tornado. Because of its proximity to the ocean, New York is not subjected to the threat of hurricanes. However, New York does experience high wind speeds which can result in damage.



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 indoors:

  • Move away from windows or objects that could fall on top of you
  • In multi-story buildings, move to a room in the basement or lower-level floors.

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, trees, buildings, and cover your head.
  • Avoid downed electric power lines, utility poles, and trees.

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.
  • Call 475-3333 v/tty to contact Public Safety to report a life threatening emergency.
  • Cautiously evacuate damaged buildings and do not re-enter until declared safe by campus officials.
  • If you smell gas or hear a hissing sound indoors - open windows and leave the building. Turn off the gas source and call Public Safety at 475-3333 v/tty. Do not use matches, candles, open flames or electric switches indoors.
  • 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