Severe Weather

Rensselaer issues safety alerts through the RPI Alert system warning of potential bad weather and school closings. 

Alerts are issued when a storm is set to impact the campus. Immediate warnings will be issued via text alert. All members of the campus community should take RPI Alerts taken seriously and respond with immediate action.

Closing Information

  • CDTA Shuttle Bus Delays or cancellations call CDTA Information Line at 482-8822
  • Radio: WFLY- FLY 92, WGY- 810 WGY, WYJ- B-95.5
  • Television: News Channel-13, WTEN Channel 10, Capital News 9, WXXA and WRGB Channel 6.

Severe Weather Types

Severe Thunderstorms and High Winds

Always plan ahead and have a safe location in mind before a storm hits.   If you’re already inside a building, remember that basements and lower floors are usually the safest locations during violent storms and high winds, so try to determine where you could go on a lower level of your building that is also away from windows.  And if you’re caught outside during a strong storm, do not shelter under trees, or near metal railings and other structures that can conduct electricity. Lightning is the second biggest killer in weather-related incidents.


  • Can I put off a trip until after a storm?

  • Can I drive or catch an RPI Shuttle rather than walk outdoors?

  • Can I use a tunnel between buildings instead of being outdoors?

  • Is there an empty seat away from the windows in this room?


Once you have thought of a place to safely shelter, make a plan of action:

  • Determine if you have enough time to reach your sheltering place, or if it would be safer to remain in your current location.

  • Assess your current surroundings and see if there is a safe location in that space, or if you should seek shelter elsewhere.  This is especially true if you’re outside.  If a secure building isn’t immediately at hand, see if you can find temporary shelter in a car or other vehicle.

After the thunderstorm or high wind storm has passed, be ready for any power outages that may impact A/C, heat and lights. In addition, remember to watch for downed power lines and always assume that fallen lines are live.

Please refer to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) website for more tips on preparing for a thunderstorm or other dangerous storm.

Extreme Heat

Extreme heat creates a lot of demand on the region’s electrical system, and this can sometimes lead to blackouts.  The problem can escalate during prolonged periods of extreme heat.

Should the area around the Troy campus ever lose power due to a power outage, some campus buildings will also lose power.  Watch for alerts notifying you of places on campus where you can sleep, eat and stay cool during the outage.


  • Will it be too hot to sleep in my residence, whether I’m on- or off-campus?

  • If so, can I stay with a nearby friend or relative that has power and air conditioning?

  • Where can I charge my phone?


  • If you find an alternate place to stay during an extended period of extreme heat, notify your family, friends, fellow students and Public Safety where you are going to be staying.  (Contact Public Safety by calling (518) 276-6656 or via RPI Guardian.)  Also leave detailed plans of how you plan to get to and from that location, such as by walking, car, bus, etc.

  • Do not plan to sleep in your car during a period of excessive heat.

  • Ask your professors and other instructors if you could possibly telecommute during the heat wave, so as to avoid going outside.

  • Utilize your personal preparedness plan. Your “go bag” should include a phone charger and a fully-charged power backup in the event of a prolonged power outage.



Since snow can be forecast many days before it arrives, Rensselaer will generally issue a Safety Alert to the campus community so that they can prepare for the coming storm. Another alert may be issued if the campus is closed due to inclement weather, so always remember to check your email for updates if snow is forecast.

It is dangerous to venture out during heavy snowfalls due to low visibility and low traction.  In such cases, Rensselaer may close to allow snow plows access to the campus and surrounding areas.


What do I need before the storm arrives?

  • What supplies will I need to get before the snowstorm arrives?  Do I have enough groceries and any necessary medications to last at least a couple of days?
  • Even if I can make it up the hill to campus safely, will I be able to get back down?
  • Do I need to watch for any snow or ice that may be falling from buildings?


Make a plan as to how and where you will spend your time when the campus is closed.

  • Do not plan to drive during heavy snow.

  • Be prepared to spend a day or more in your residence if the snowfall is heavy and extended.

  • Contact the Student Health Center prior to the storm to discuss any essential medicines you may need.

  • If you do venture outside, be careful walking on sidewalks and other surfaces, as snow and ice can make it difficult to navigate.

  • Tune in to local news channels – or RPI Alert -- for any weather-related delays or closings for the Troy campus.  You may also call (518) 276-6600 for updated information.  Campus digital signage will include updates during normal business hours.

  • Get ready for some winter fun on campus, but only after being told that the campus is open.

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