With a major winter storm forecast for the region beginning Tuesday evening, West Virginia University officials are following conditions and remind students, faculty and staff to monitor local newscasts and University channels, e.g. WVUToday , E-News, Mix, InfoStations and the intranet, for information.

Also, in the event of an emergency, the University will send messages via its text alert system. If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the alert system at http://emergency.wvu.edu/alert .

Barring the declaration of a state of emergency or extreme local weather conditions, the University remains open during periods of inclement weather, officials say. Even if the University closes or classes are canceled, residence halls and dining halls remain open to serve students. In addition, some other units, such road and ground crews, libraries and other services, remain on duty.

Should the region be hit with significant snowfall or other conditions which make travel difficult, students and employees should use good judgment in deciding whether to attend classes or work based on the road and weather conditions in their individual locations, Vice President of Administration and Finance Narvel Weese said.

If power is lost and the PRT is shut down, the University is prepared to run buses as necessary.

Senior Associate Provost Russell Dean encouraged faculty to be lenient and reasonable in permitting students who are absent from class due to weather conditions to make up assignments and/or tests. They should consult with department chairs or the Office of Student Affairs if there are questions, he said.

Below are preparedness tips, provided by MECCA-911, that residents can use to help be prepared for winter weather.

Prepare your home and family

• Prepare for possible isolation in your home by having sufficient heating fuel; regular fuel sources may be cut off. For example, store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove.
• Winterize your home to extend the life of your fuel supply by insulating walls and attics, caulking and weather-stripping doors and windows, and installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic.
• Winterize your house, barn, shed or any other structure that may provide shelter for your family, neighbors, livestock or equipment. Clear rain gutters; repair roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on a house or other structure during a storm.
• Insulate pipes with insulation or newspapers and plastic and allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing.
• Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them. House fires pose an additional risk, as more people turn to alternate heating sources without taking the necessary safety precautions.
• Learn how to shut off water valves (in case a pipe bursts).
• Know ahead of time what you should do to help elderly or disabled friends, neighbors or employees.
• Hire a contractor to check the structural ability of the roof to sustain unusually heavy weight from the accumulation of snow – or water, if drains on flat roofs do not work.

Prepare your car

• Check or have a mechanic check the following items on your car:
Antifreeze levels – ensure they are sufficient to avoid freezing.
Battery and ignition system – should be in top condition and battery terminals should be clean.
Brakes – check for wear and fluid levels.
Exhaust system – check for leaks and crimped pipes and repair or replace as necessary. Carbon monoxide is deadly and usually gives no warning.
Fuel and air filters – replace and keep water out of the system by using additives and maintaining a full tank of gas.
Heater and defroster – ensure they work properly.
Lights and flashing hazard lights – check for serviceability.
Oil – check for level and weight. Heavier oils congeal more at low temperatures and do not lubricate as well.
Thermostat – ensure it works properly.
Windshield wiper equipment – repair any problems and maintain proper washer fluid level.
• Install good winter tires. Make sure the tires have adequate tread. All-weather radials are usually adequate for most winter conditions. However, some jurisdictions require that to drive on their roads, vehicles must be equipped with chains or snow tires with studs.
• Maintain at least a half tank of gas during the winter season.
• Place a winter emergency kit in each car



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