Inclement Weather

Winter storms can create a higher risk of car accidents, hypothermia, frostbite, carbon monoxide poisoning and heart attacks from overexertion. Winter storms and blizzards can bring extreme cold, freezing rain, snow, ice and high winds.

Keep the following in mind during winter weather:

  • Stay off roads if at all possible. If trapped in your car, then stay inside
  • Limit your time outside; if you need to go outside, wear layers of warm clothing
  • Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, only use generators and grills outdoors and away from windows, never heat your home with a gas stovetop or oven
  • Reduce the risk of a heart attack-avoid overexertion when shoveling snow
  • Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia and begin treatment right away
  • Check on neighbors; older adults and young children are more at risk in extreme cold

Frostbite causes loss of feeling and color around the face, fingers, and toes.

  • Signs include numbness, white or grayish-yellow skin, firm or waxy skin
  • If you suspect frostbite go to a warm room, soak in warm water and use body heat to warm skin
  • Do not massage or use a heating pad, seek medical treatment

Hypothermia is unusually low body temperature. A temperature below 95 degrees is an emergency.

  • Signs include shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech or drowsiness
  • If you suspect hypothermia, go to a warm room
  • Warm the center of the body first, the chest, neck, head and groin
  • Keep dry and wrapped up in warm blankets, including the head and neck
  • Seek medical treatment

When inclement weather conditions, such as an ice or snow storm, are in the forecast, SMU officials will monitor conditions and prepare for the continuity of operations. Please review 9-12-University-Operations-Affected-by-Emergency-Conditions for further details.

SMU’s goal is to hold classes and events in person; however, if winter weather conditions risk the safety of our employees and students, a decision on campus operations will be made by the President in consultation with SMU Police and members of the President’s Executive Council.

Campus Notifications 

Changes in operations, including delays, cancellations or a pivot to virtual instruction for classes, will be communicated in the following ways:


Every effort will be made to announce any changes by 6 a.m. for the workday and by 4 p.m. for evening events. However, late-breaking weather developments may occasionally require other timely notifications.

If no University notification is sent or posted, operations are continuing as scheduled. Students, faculty and staff are expected to report to their classrooms or offices.

Safety considerations

Above all, be safe. Always use good judgment regarding your ability to travel safely in inclement weather if the University is operating as normal. Students who are not able to report for class due to road conditions or other weather-related issues should contact their professor, and employees should contact their supervisor.

Stay up to date

The new SMU Aware website is a one-stop place to get the latest information about a winter storm or other emergencies on campus. Please check it often for updates.