Extreme Weather

Extreme weather includes high winds, thunderstorms, lightning, hail, floods, extreme heat or cold, snowstorms, and other weather systems that have the potential to create safety hazards or cause property damage.


Move to an interior sheltered area on a ground or basement floor, away from windows and doors. If you are unable to go to a basement or ground floor, seek shelter under a table or desk until the danger has passed.


  • Stay away from buildings, windows, and utility poles.
  • Shelter in a low-lying area, such as a ditch, ravine, or depression, and lie face down, covering your head.
  • DO NOT seek shelter in a highway underpass.


Extreme heat or cold can pose a threat to individuals who work outdoors or who have a preexisting health condition, such as a respiratory illness or heart ailment. In extreme heat or cold, all faculty and staff of outdoor academic or operational activities should ensure that students and employees are properly outfitted for the weather conditions.

Supervisors and faculty are responsible for rescheduling outdoor activities as deemed appropriate. Faculty or staff with a medical condition who may be impacted by extreme temperatures should contact the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System.


In the event of a severe snowstorm that may prevent you from leaving your home or campus facility, consider the following:

  • Be prepared by ensuring that you have an adequate amount of food on hand and fuel in your vehicle.
  • Maintain an emergency supply of prescription medications at home and at work.
  • Monitor local media for information about road and traffic conditions, and plan travel accordingly.
  • Remain in place if road, traffic, or weather conditions are hazardous.

If severe weather or a regional emergency prevents you from leaving UIC, the campus will provide information and assistance while you remain on campus as it becomes available. Please call the UIC Hotline at (312) 413-9696 or check the UIC home page at


Tornado sirens are sounded for those areas in the path of the tornado throughout Cook County (City of Chicago). Tornado sirens are not usually heard inside of buildings. It is recommended that each building and/or department purchase a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio with a battery backup and tone-alert feature that automatically alerts you when a watch or warning is issued.

When the tornado sirens sound or a tornado has been sighted, take the following actions:

  • Go to a place of protection immediately. The safest place is underground. Move to a predesignated Storm Refuge Area, or a small windowless interior room on the lowest level possible.
  • Assist those with functional needs.
  • Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Crouch down or get under sturdy furniture and use your arms to protect your head and neck. Stay away from windows and open spaces.
  • If you are caught outdoors, seek safety in the closest sturdy building. If that is not possible, drive to the closest shelter, take cover in a stationary vehicle, or lie in a depression and cover your head.
  • Watch out for flying debris. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries.
  • There are no “all clear” sirens. If you continue to hear tornado sirens, there is still a threat.
  • Utilize emergency notification systems, such as UIC SMS Emergency Text Messages to receive updated information.
  • DO NOT call 911 unless you need to report an emergency, such as a fire, medical emergency, or severe building damage. 911 lines need to be kept open and available for emergency calls.


Flooding is defined as an overflowing of water, often sudden, from an uncontained source. Only follow these actions if it is safe to do so:

  • Secure vital equipment, research supplies, vital records, and hazardous materials by moving them to higher, safer ground.
  • Shut off all nonessential electrical equipment.
  • Move all personnel to a safe area, away from the building in danger. Locate people with functional needs, and provide assistance if it is safe to do so. Otherwise, provide their location to emergency responders.
  • Do not return to the building until instructed to do so by UIC Police or the Environmental Health and Safety Office (EHSO).
  • If outdoors, go to high ground immediately. Avoid walking or driving through standing water, as depth is hard to gauge.
  • Call Facilities Management for assistance with flood cleanup. 


As a matter of policy, the campus is never closed. The residential, healthcare, and research aspects of UIC operations make this a requirement.

In the event of extreme weather conditions, the campus will continue to operate during regularly scheduled hours. Staff members are expected to report to their respective offices or workstations. Staff members who are not able to commute to campus may request that the time missed be charged to vacation time or make other arrangements. These arrangements must meet all University rules and regulations and should be agreeable to the staff member’s supervisor and unit head. You may call Human Resources at (312) 355-5510 for answers to questions on rules and regulations.


In individual cases, there may be reasons for faculty members to cancel their classes. They must make certain that college and departmental offices are aware of such cancellations. If an individual class is canceled, all students registered in the class must be informed as soon as possible by e-mail, and the work must be made up later in the semester.


In accordance with Executive Notice 94-3, classes will be canceled if, in the judgment of the Chancellor or the Provost, the health and safety of students, faculty, or staff­ would be seriously jeopardized. In this case, the Vice Chancellors will notify the units that report to them. The public a­ffected will be notified by announcement over local radio and TV stations.
Unfortunately, we cannot control the timing of the public notice or the wording of the announcement. If you hear that the campus is “closed,” you should know that, while classes have been canceled, offices are open, and other special scheduled events may not have been canceled. Class cancellations announcements will be posted to the UIC Website and are also available by calling the UIC information hotline at (312) 413-9696. Faculty and sta­ff with noninstructional responsibilities are not excused when classes are canceled.