Winter Weather Safety

Winter weather at ECU can include snow, ice, freezing rain, and sleet generally from late December to early March. Those who have spent several years in the Greenville area understand that the mixing line (transition line between snow and ice) often straddles Greenville; generally leaving snow to our northwest and ice to the southeast. ECU faculty, staff, and students need to become familiar with the Greenville climate and check weather forecasts frequently throughout the winter months. The forecast and conditions can change often.

ECU is designated by the National Weather Service as a StormReady University. Despite our access to the best technology available, forecasts are based on computer models that inherently contain potential for error and weather systems can change. Even slight errors can make a big difference when on the edge of rain, snow, sleet, and freezing rain.

Class Cancellation & Campus Closure

How the University makes a decision to change operating status

ECU Administrators analyze weather forecasts and conditions as well as monitor the campus roads, parking lots, and walkways in advance of and throughout winter storms to help insure the safety of our students, employees, and visitors.  If a winter storm is predicted days in advance, the Severe Weather Response Team convenes to discuss weather forecasts, conditions, and potential impacts to operations and people.  A decision may be made 2 -18 hours in advance, although some winter storms require additional monitoring before a decision can be made.

For an overnight storm, the weather is monitored throughout the night and beginning at 4 AM designated administrators check the latest forecasts, drive the roads and check campus walkways and parking lots.  For storms occurring during the day, designated administrators drive the roads regularly and communicate with ECU Police and ECU Transit about road conditions.  Any concerns are reported to the Severe Weather Response Team.

When decisions need to be made quickly, a conference call is set up with a portion of the Severe Weather Response Team to expedite the decision making process. The recommendation is discussed with the Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance who reviews with the Chancellor for a final decision.

Decisions to close the University or cancel classes must be based on local conditions.  There have been many instances where neighboring towns and cities were icy and roads were unsafe in those areas, but Greenville and Pitt County roads were passable, so classes were held on their normal schedules.  In those situations, students and staff must make judgments based on their specific circumstances and communicate with instructors and supervisors.  We don’t expect students and staff to put themselves in danger.

How the University notifies faculty, staff, and students

Once the University has decided to close, cancel or delay classes, the notification is sent through ECU Alert.  This information can be found on the University home page, emergency hotline, campus email, and SMS text messages (users will only receive text if subscribed).

Winter Walking & Driving Safety

Several health and safety risks are associated with winter weather.  The majority of winter weather accidental injuries at ECU are associate with walking and driving.

Winter Driving Tips

  • Clear: Remove any ice or snow on your vehicles windows, lights, brake lights, and signals
  • Inspect: Check your vehicle’s tires, wiper blades, fluids, lights, belts, and hoses before a storm
  • Time: Allow plenty of time to reach your destination safely
  • Limited Visibility: Stay attentive and reduce speed; Know what’s going on around you
  • Speed: The faster you’re going, the longer it will take to stop; take it slow to avoid slipping or sliding
  • Black Ice: You cannot see black ice on the road; take it slow when approaching intersections, off-ramps, bridges, or shady areas
  • Distance: Leave extra room between you and the vehicle in front of you
  • Brake: Brake early, brake slowly; never slam on the brakes

Winter Walking Tips

  • Plan extra time to walk to class or the office; walk at a slower pace
  • Stay on designated walkways
  • Watch for and avoid slippery surfaces
  • Remove snow from shoes before entering any building
  • Always use a handrail when climbing up or down stairs
  • Always use a handrail when going in and out of buildings, vehicles, or public transportation
  • Wear footwear with traction
  • Wait for vehicles to stop completely before crossing the road

Are you winter storm ready?