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Preparing for Snow Days

February 9, 2023 |

 By Samantha Thompson

If there is one thing you can count on, it’s that you can never count on North Carolina weather. Today may be 70 degrees, but tomorrow, there will be ice on the ground. It’s best to stay ready, so you don’t have to get ready. Central North Carolina typically experiences snowstorms early in the year—from January to February, sometimes even going into early March. Here are the best tips for preparing for our upcoming wintery days.  


You’ve probably seen the emails when inclement weather is coming—the UNC Adverse Weather Conditions system helps guides students, staff, and faculty on how best to proceed in the case of extreme weather. Here are the three conditions: 

  • Under condition 1, the university will move into reduced operations. Students and faculty will operate regularly, but your professor may change class schedules to accommodate the weather.  
  • Under condition two, the university will move into suspended operations. Classes will be cancelled, and non-mandatory employees must leave campus.  
  • Under condition three, the university will be closed. Of course, classes will be cancelled, and offices and facilities will be closed. This means dining halls and other eateries will be closed. Under condition three, it is important to be prepared with food and other items because they won’t be as accessible, if at all. 

These updates will be available to students via their email.  


As fun as a snow day is, it's important to be safe. Ice makes the road and walkways very dangerous, so you should be careful when travelling and only do so when necessary. You’ll get plenty of warnings before the inclement weather begins, so take this time to stock your room with some food and get comfortable. Before the winter weather hits, you can head to the Carolina Cupboard and stock up on food and supplies. They are open Tuesday-Thursday from 10AM to 4PM, so planning ahead of time is important. It’s a good time to catch up on work or to just have a relaxing day inside! 


It's going to be cold...extremely cold. Don’t underestimate the weather. If you choose to go outside and enjoy the snow, be sure to dress appropriately and adequately.  

Layering is important because each layer does something different to protect you from the weather. Experts recommend three layers; a base, a middle, and an outer. The base layer is the sweat-wicking layer, the middle acts as insulation to keep you warm, and the outer shields you from the wind and snow. If you plan on going outside, especially for extended periods of time, each layer is very important for your health and safety.  

Besides staying warm, slick walkways make travel dangerous so it is important to wear the proper footwear. Shoes with good traction help prevent you from slipping. You also want to make sure these shoes are well insulated and that you wear thick socks or even multiple pairs to prevent frostbite.  

Other accessories, such as scarves, gloves, and hats, are also snow essentials! 


Yes, everyone says it, but the most important thing is to have fun. If you want to go outside and play in the snow, trust me, you won’t be the only one. Students gather in places all around campus to sled, have snowball fights, or enjoy the snow. As long as you’re bundled up and safe, you should absolutely get out and enjoy the snow.  

Scenes from the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a snowy winter day. January 17, 2018. (Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)
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