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Storm Emergencies

Severe stormy weather poses many threats that can affect travel, communication, and physical safety.

Winter Storms

When severe winter storms hit the BYU-Idaho campus during normal school hours, the President’s Council decides whether to close the campus or have employees leave work early.

  1. Students and employees are notified of updates through official emails, texts, myBYUI homepage banners, and radio stations (FM 94.3 or FM 91.5). 
  2. Faculty: If a class is in session when a storm hits, do not dismiss class. Wait for further instructions about when to leave the safety of the buildings. When notified that it is safe to leave campus, please do so without delay. 
  3. Students, faculty, and staff who question whether the university will be open after a major overnight storm should wait for updates via email or tune in to campus radio stations.  


During a severe thunderstorm, remain indoors to avoid lightning. Follow these guiding principles from the CDC.

Avoid Electrical Sources

  1. Avoid contact with corded phones and devices including those plugged into electric sources for recharging.  
  2. Cordless and wireless phones not connected to a wall outlet are okay to use. 
  3. Avoid contact with electrical equipment or cords.  
  4. Lightning can cause dangerous power surges.Unplug appliances and other electrical items, such as computers. Turn off air conditioners.

Avoid Energy Conductors

  1. Plumbing and bathroom fixtures can conduct electricity. Avoid contact with plumbing. Do not wash your hands, take a shower, wash dishes, or do laundry.
  2. Avoid contact with anything metal—tractors, farm equipment, motorcycles, golf carts, and bicycles, etc. 

Outdoor Safety

  1. Stay away from windows, doors, and porches. 
  2. Take shelter in a sturdy building. Avoid Isolated sheds or other small structures in open areas. 
  3. Do not lie on concrete floors or lean against concrete walls. 
  4. Avoid hilltops, open fields, beaches, or a boat on water. 
  5. Avoid natural lightning rods such as tall, isolated trees in an open area. 
  6. If you are driving, safely exit the roadway and park the vehicle. Stay in the vehicle and turn on emergency flashing lights until the heavy rain ends.  
  7. Avoid touching metal or other surfaces that can conduct electricity in and outside of the vehicle. 


Where you are when a tornado hits matters. Use the following information to help you decide what to do in your situation.

Inside a Building

If you are in a structure such as a residence, small building, school, nursing home, hospital, factory, shopping center, or high-rise building:

  1. Go to a pre-designated area such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar, or the lowest level in a building.  
  2. If there is no basement, go to the center of a small interior room on the lowest level of the building (e.g., a closet or interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls. 
  3. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. 
  4. Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect your head and neck. 
  5. If you are in a high-rise building, go to a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor as possible.  
  6. Put on sturdy shoes. 
  7. Do not open windows. 

Manufactured Home or Office

  1. Get out immediately and go to a pre-identified location such as the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building or storm shelter.  
  2. Keep in mind that mobile homes, even if they are tied down, offer little protection from tornados.  

Outside With No Shelter

If you are not in a sturdy building, there is no single research-based recommendation because many factors can affect your decisions. Consider these guidelines:

  1. Immediately get into a vehicle, buckle your seatbelt, and try to drive to the closest sturdy shelter. If your vehicle is hit by flying debris while you are driving, pull over and park until the storm passes. 
  2. Take cover in a stationary vehicle. Strap the seatbelt on and cover your head with your arms and a blanket, coat, or cushion if possible. 
  3. Lie in and area noticeably lower than the level of the roadway and cover your head with your arms, a blanket, coat, or cushion if possible.  

In All Situations

  1. Do not seek shelter under overpasses or bridges. You are safer in a low, flat location.  
  2. Never try to outrun a tornado in urban or congested areas while in a vehicle. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for a safe shelter.  
  3. Watch for flying debris. Flying debris from tornados causes most injuries and fatalities.