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Winter and Ice Storms

Rochester's average snowfall of the past 30 years is 95 inches per year. Rochester has also been known to have blizzard-like conditions, white-outs, icy roads and ice storms. This type of weather has the capacity not only to double or triple commute times, but also to shut down Rochester. People may become trapped in their vehicles or houses. Also during winter weather, vehicle accidents increase.



Check campus advisories and alerts. Tune to local radio and television stations which provide the latest weather information. You may also locate weather information online at The National Weather Service.

Winter Storm Watch and Warning

Winter Storm Warning
Issued by the National Weather Service when a winter storm is producing or is forecast to produce heavy snow or significant ice accumulations. The criteria for this warning can vary from place to place.

Winter Storm Watch
Issued by the National Weather Service when there is a potential for heavy snow or significant ice accumulations, usually at least 24 to 36 hours in advance. The criteria for this watch can vary from place to place.



  • Be sure to keep warm, dry, calm and safe.
  • Do not drive if it is not necessary. If it is essential for you to drive bring supplies, such as a change of clothes, a blanket, medications, flashlight and snacks. Seventy percent of deaths related to ice and snow, occur when people are stranded in cars or involved in accidents.
  • Wear extra layers of clothing to prevent frostbite and hypothermia.
  • If it is necessary to go outside, do not remain outside for long periods of time.

If you are in a vehicle:

  • In extreme cold or in heavy snow, stay with your car until you can be rescued.
  • For heat, run your vehicle on for about ten minutes each hour. At night, turn on your dome light when running the engine.
  • Opening the window a small amount will help you avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Check to make sure the exhaust pipe is not blocked, which would force dangerous fumes to backup inside the car.
  • Make your vehicle visible to rescuers. Tie a bright cloth to your antenna or door. When the snowfall stops, raise your hood to indicate trouble.
  • Twice an hour vigorously move your arms, legs, fingers and toes to keep blood circulating and to keep warm.

Additional Information

National Weather Service


Staying Informed

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

Winter Driving Programs are provided by AAA