Weather Safety

According to the National Weather Service, the United States is the most severe weather-prone country in the world. Each year, people in this country cope with an average of 10,000 thunderstorms, 5,000 floods, 1,200 tornadoes, and two land-falling hurricanes. Approximately 90% of all presidentially declared disasters are weather-related, causing around 500 deaths each year and nearly $14 billion in damage.

Weather Notifications

The University maintains an email announcement list to provide the campus community with timely information about significant weather events which could impact Princeton University’s campus operations:

To subscribe to the Weather Group announcement list, send an e-mail message to with the words “subscribe weathergroup” in the body of the message. You should include only the words without the quotation marks in the body of your message in order for the command to work properly. Subscribers must complete a confirmation process, details of which are included in a response e-mail sent automatically from the Princeton listserv. This list is not a replacement for the regular weather outlets upon which we all depend for daily forecasts. As with any weather event, the most up-to-date information for your immediate area is available through your local weather outlet.

You can find information and guidance for specific weather by following the links below:

Avoiding Winter Slips and Falls

Winter in Princeton often means periods of icy or snowy weather, and every storm brings a unique set of hazardous conditions.  As Facilities Departments work diligently to remove snow and ice from roads, parking lots, walkways and building entrances, you still may encounter slippery surfaces while walking around campus.

The Pedestrian Safety Committee offers the following tips for avoiding slips and falls during this winter season:

  • Select appropriate footwear.  There is no single shoe sole material that is perfect under all conditions; however, footwear with rubber or neoprene composite soles provides better traction on ice and snow than leather or plastic.
  • Think about the best route to your destination and plan on a little extra time to get there.  Avoid rushing, taking shortcuts over snow piles or traversing areas where snow or ice removal is incomplete.
  • If you have no choice but to walk on a slippery surface, bend slightly forward and shorten your stride or shuffle your feet for better stability.
  • Many slips and falls occur during entry or exit from vehicles.  Be particularly careful and hold on to the vehicle for support.
  • Observe caution when walking or driving around snow removal equipment.  They often come to sudden stops and the operator may have limited visibility.

When entering a building, be sure to:

  • Take advantage of floor mats to remove moisture from the soles of your shoes.  This will help protect you, as well as others who follow, from having to walk on wet or slippery surfaces.
  • Avoid walking on wet or slippery areas if possible.
  • Take responsibility for immediately reporting slippery conditions and fall hazards.

Report slippery conditions in University parking lots, walkways and building entrances to the Facilities Customer Service Center at extension 8-8000 from 7:30am-5:00pm. After hours, leave a message  on voice mail or email After hours, report immediate safety concerns to Public Safety at 8-1000.


For information about responding to flooded areas in your building, consult Floods and Flooded Areas. EHS also has information on Natural Disaster Response and Clean-up

Lightning Safety Plan

Lightning is the second leading cause of direct weather deaths in the U.S., after floods, and results in more fatalities each year than tornadoes and hurricanes combined. Given the random nature of lightning strikes, absolute protection cannot be guaranteed to any individual or group.

You are ultimately responsible for your personal safety and should take appropriate action when threatened by lightning. A Lightning Safety Plan, found under Resources, outlines procedures and responsibilities for event managers and provides information about lightning safety guidelines to Princeton University faculty, students, staff, and visitors.

Reunion Worker Severe Weather Preparedness

Lightning is the second leading cause of direct weather deaths in the U.S., after floods, and results in more fatalities each year than tornadoes and hurricanes combined.   Given the random nature of lightning strikes, absolute protection cannot be guaranteed to any individual or group.  Individuals are ultimately responsible for their personal safety and should take appropriate action when threatened by lightning.

  1. Identify in advance a location (e.g., building, bus, personal automobile) that would be safe during a thunderstorm. Locations that offer little or no protection from lightning include tents, golf carts, open-sided shelters such as parking garages, or the open area under the stands at Princeton Stadium.  Some recommended locations for Reunions workers include dormitories attached to Reunion sites, Alexander Hall, the Chapel and Frist Campus Center.
  2. Public Safety will attempt to notify Reunion sites if a severe storm is expected and if evacuation of the site is recommended.  However, you don’t need to wait for notification if you see lightning or hear thunder - go to the safe location immediately. Lightning often precedes rain; so don't wait for the rain to begin before suspending activities.
  3. If you are caught outdoors during severe weather, avoid high ground, open spaces, and water. Avoid all metal objects including electrical wires, fences, machinery, motors, and power tools. Avoid standing under Reunion tents; while they provide protection from the rain, they do not provide protection from lightning.  If lightning is striking nearby when you are outside, you should:
    1. Crouch down and put your feet together. Place your hands over your ears to minimize hearing damage from thunder.
    2. If part of a group, spread out.  You should avoid being in close proximity (minimum of 15 ft.) to other people.
  4. Suspend outdoor activities until the Reunion site receives an “All Clear” message from Public Safety.  If no Public Safety officer is available, suspend outdoor activity for at least 30 minutes after the last observed lightning flash or thunder clap.
  5. Persons injured by a lightning strike do not carry an electrical charge and can be handled safely. Apply First Aid procedures to a lightning victim if you are qualified to do so. Call Public Safety at 911 from any campus phone, 609-258-3333 from any cell phone, or send for help immediately.

Please contact EHS at 609-258-5294 with questions about severe weather preparedness.

Working in Hot or Cold Temperatures

For safety information about working in hot or cold temperatures, consult Heat & Cold Stress.