Risk Management and Emergency Preparedness

Severe Winter Weather

Defining Severe Weather

Severe weather includes events such as tornados, derechos, and other severe storms. Severe winter weather events include ice storms, freezing temperatures, blizzards and major accumulations of snow. 

Operations Flow in the Event of Severe Weather Occurs:

Due to the residential nature of the Macomb campus, the University will be open unless communicated otherwise. The Quad Cities campus will consider travel conditions to address the safety of commuter students. When conditions rise to a point where a decision on whether or not to open the University must be made, the following process will be followed:

Decision Making Resources and Flow:

Working closely with the National Weather Service, the McDonough County Emergency Services Disaster Agency (ESDA), and other key agencies, when severe winter weather is predicted, the Vice President of Finance and Administration will assemble the Severe Weather Advisory Team to monitor weather reports and forecasts for both the WIU Macomb and WIU-QC Campuses. They will review present weather conditions, the forecasted weather conditions, road/area conditions, and outside/wind chill temperatures. Based on information received, the Vice President for Finance and Administration will convey the information and the recommended course of action to the President of the University or their appointed designee.

If Winter weather is forecasted that may be likely to impact campus operations, the Severe Weather Advisory Committee will convene and provide a recommendation the night before. If conditions do not provide the committee with the ability to make a recommendation, they will convene the next morning. 

  • For heavy snowfall and/or ice the decision will be based first on the conditions on campus and the AVP of Facilities Management assessment and estimated time of snow removal.
    • Surrounding road conditions may also be factored in but only secondary to campus conditions.
  • Wind chill and other elements, such as wind, snow/ice accumulation, walking conditions, etc. will help further guide the committee towards their recommendation.
    • Media reports, surrounding school decisions, local business/community decisions will also be considered but only secondary to the above.

University Actions in the Event of Severe Weather

National Weather Service or McDonough County ESDA reports to WIU severe weather advisory team, who reports to WIU President, who will approve any campus notifications

The final decision to close the University, to cancel classes, or to take other appropriate actions in response to severe winter weather conditions shall rest with the President. In the case of severe weather, the University may choose one of the following courses of action:

  • University Weather Advisory:
    A University weather advisory will be issued with weather conditions are such that some employees and students could experience difficulty in getting to and from the University and/or classes. However, the majority of employees and students would be able to maintain their normal schedule. During an advisory, classes will not be canceled and the University will continue to operate on a normal schedule (classes and work operations). Some extra circular activities and events may be postponed or canceled.
  • Only Classes Cancelled:
    An Only Classes Canceled course of action will be taken when conditions are such that most students would be prevented from getting to classes safely.

    On occasion, classes being held in the daytime will be conducted, but due to weather conditions and/or poor visibility, night classes may be canceled.
  • University Closure:
    A University Closure may be declared when weather conditions are such that it would be unsafe for students and employees to attempt to get to campus. Only essential personnel will be required to be at their workstations.

When a campus closure occurs:

*If the University is closed, University Housing and Dining Services (UHDS) will continue to operate dining center locations within the residence halls (University Union food court closed). 

**UHDS will provide (if possible) housing accommodations for “essential and emergency personnel” who are required to be on campus. 

***Based on the situation and staffing availabilities, the Campus Recreation Center may be open during a campus closure. This is determined on a case by case basis.

****Events and Campus Activities scheduled during a University Closure may still continue, but require VP Approval to commence.

Snow Removal Prioritization:

Facilities Management/Grounds will attempt to clear all sidewalks and parking lots as soon as possible. Prioritization of parking lots and sidewalks can be found at: https://www.wiu.edu/facilities_management/_documents/snow_removal.pdf

The Campus Community will be advised of the decision through the following mediums:

  1. Western Emergency Alert System (WEAS)
    • Recorded phone message
    • Text Message
    • Email to their WIU email account
  2. Western Illinois University Webpage (wiu.edu)
  3. Local News (TV/Radio/Web)
  4. University Social Media Platforms

WIU Severe Weather Advisory Team

  • Paul Edwards, Vice President for Finance and Administration
  • Dr. Kristi Mindrup, Vice President for WIU Quad Cities Operations
  • Derek Watts, Director of the Office of Public Safety and Chief of Campus Police
  • Joe Roselieb, Interim Assistant Vice President for Facilities Management
  • Alisha Looney, Interim Assistant Vice President for Communications, Marketing & Media Relations
  • Dr. Guiyou Huang, President