Skip to Main Content

Possible severe winter storm this weekend -- be prepared!

With computer models in agreement on the potential for a major snow event impacting the DC area starting Friday, students at Capitol Technology University are being urged to keep a close eye on weather forecasts and plan accordingly.

Students should "monitor the weather and know when the storm is expected to start, and be aware that there’s high potential for prolonged power outages in the area," dean of student life and retention Melinda Bunnell-Rhyne told Capitology.

As of Wednesday (January 20), all of the major forecasting models -- including the GFS, the European model and the Canadian model -- were predicting double-digit totals over the weekend, the Washington Post reported on its weather blog, Capitol Weather Gang.

"The agreement among forecast models for a severe winter storm in this case is remarkable and a hallmark of some of our most memorable snow events," Post weather bloggers Jason Samenow and Wes Junker wrote. How the storm plays out depends on the track it follows, with deviations possibly leading to reduced precipitation or a changeover to rain. Heavy snow, however, is considered the most probable scenario, with flakes starting to fall Friday morning or afternoon.

With this in mind, residential students at Capitol may want to consider going home for the weekend -- and leaving as early as Thursday night, Bunnell-Rhyne said.

"We’ve recommended that residential students consider going home during the weather event. They should consider leaving on Thursday night and make sure that they are safely at their destination before the snow hits," she said.

However, the university does have equipment and procedures in place for those who choose to stay at Capitol.

"In the event of a power outage we have generators on campus. Students will be evacuated to buildings that have heat," Bunnell-Rhyne said.

In a letter sent out Tuesday, the Office of Student Life advised students staying in the area to make an emergency kit that includes warm clothing and blankets, non-perishable food that does not require being heated up, and three gallons of water. Shuttle times could become erratic once the storm hits, so shopping should be completed prior to Friday.

The on-campus guest policy will be suspended as of 10:30 pm on Thursday (January 21) for the duration of the storm.

It is unknown at this time whether Monday classes on campus will be affected. Updates will be posted on the Capitol website, Facebook and Twitter.

Graduate classes, which are held online, will proceed as scheduled.

For more information, contact residencelife@CapTechU.edu. Additional suggestions for storm preparation can be found at http://www.nws.noaa.gov and http://www.ready.gov/winter-weather.