Occasionally southwestern Colorado experiences severe winter storms capable of producing deep snow very quickly. These conditions are commonly referred to as "blizzard" or "whiteout" conditions.
- Pay attention to weather forecasts during the winter. Winter storm watches and warnings are issued by the federal government (The National Weather Service, a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and broadcast over radio and television stations such as the Weather Channel and your local cable TV and radio stations.
- Only the President of Fort Lewis College or his/her designee can close the school due to inclement weather. You may read the policy here. Heavy snow conditions are nothing new in Colorado, and the college is prepared to handle anything short of blizzard conditions. Do not expect the school to close due to bad weather unless it is EXTREMELY bad.
- BE PREPARED. The best thing to do during extremely bad weather is to just STAY HOME. If you must travel during inclement weather, have blankets and some food and water in your vehicle. Make sure your vehicle is prepared to handle bad weather with snow tires and/or snow chains, and good maintenance. Keeping jumper cables and tools on hand is never a bad idea. An ice scraper, extra engine oil, and windshield wiper fluid are good ideas as well. If you have one, carry a cell phone to call for help, if needed.
- The 8th Avenue access to Fort Lewis College, often referred to as the "front hill" access, will close at any time the Fort Lewis College Police and Physical Plant Services determine that conditions on that stretch of road are too dangerous to allow traffic to travel on it. Snow gates are positioned at the top and bottom of the hill, and warning signs on campus, at 8th Ave and 8th St., and at 8th Ave and College Avenue will be activated when the front hill access is closed.
Sometimes inclement weather combines with poor driver skills and/or judgment to create multiple accidents in a short period of time.
- If law enforcement, usually the Colorado State Patrol, determines that it does not have the resources available to handle all the accidents, it will declare an accident alert. During an accident alert, law enforcement only responds to serious accidents. If you are involved in an accident with no injuries and in which damage is less than $1000.00 dollars, simply exchange driver/registration/insurance information with the other driver(s) involved and you may depart the scene. Make sure you notify the appropriate law enforcement agency within the next few days so that a report can be written. THIS PROCEDURE IS ONLY LEGAL DURING AN ACCIDENT ALERT. AT ALL OTHER TIMES IT IS ILLEGAL TO DEPART THE SCENE OF AN ACCIDENT UNTIL IT IS REPORTED AND LAW ENFORCEMENT IS ON SCENE. If you are not sure an accident alert has been declared, call Central Dispatch at 385-2900 and ask.