New to New England winters?

Winter is coming!

There are many new things that you will experience as you move to New Haven and start the new semester. If winter weather is among them, then you may want to spend some time preparing for the season.  Generally, the cool fall weather will begin around October and the colder weather typically occurs between the end of December and continues through early April. Here are a few preparedness tips to consider, especially if this will be your first winter!

What you wear will make a big difference: Wear loose, lightweight, warm clothes in layers. Trapped air insulates. Remove layers to avoid perspiration and subsequent chill. Outer garments should be tightly woven, water repellent, and hooded. Wear a hat. Half your body heat loss can occur from the head. Cover your mouth to protect your lungs from extreme cold. Mittens, snug at the wrist, are better than gloves. Try to stay dry. Wear sturdy waterproof and slip resistant boots or shoes. You will spend a lot of time outside walking to and from your classes, or your lab, and wearing warm gear is key to your safety and comfort during a New England winter.

Know the terms:

Freezing Rain- Rain that freezes on cold surfaces as a sheet of ice.

Sleet- Frozen precipitation that falls as ice pellets that you may see bouncing off the ground, your windshield or the roof.

Snow Showers: Snow falling at varying intensities for brief periods of time. Some accumulation is possible.

Snow Flurries: Light snow falling for short duration with little or no accumulation.

Snow Squalls: Brief, intense snow showers accompanied by strong, gusty winds. Accumulation may be significant.

Blizzard: Winds of 35 mph or more with snow and blowing snow reducing visibility to less than a quarter of a mile for at least three hours.

Understand the hazards:

Wind Chill: How wind and cold feel on exposed skin (this is not the actual temperature). As the wind increases, heat is carried away from the body at an accelerated rate, driving down the body temperature.

Frostbite: Damage to body tissue caused by extreme cold. Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and a white or pale appearance in extremities, such as fingers, toes, ear lobes or the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, get medical help immediately.

Hypothermia: A condition brought on when the body temperature drops to less than 95 degrees Fahrenheit (F). Warning signs include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness, and apparent exhaustion. If body temperature is below 95F, seek medical care immediately!

What to listen for:

Outlook: Winter storm conditions are possible in the next 2-5 days. Stay tuned for local media for updates

Watch: Winter storm conditions are possible within the next 36-48 hours. Prepare now!

Warning:  Severe winter conditions have begun or will begin within 24 hours. Act now!

Advisory: Winter weather conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences and may be hazardous. If you are cautious, these situations should not be life threatening.

Update your contact information so that you receive Yale Alerts in the event the University has a delayed opening or closing. Visit for information about how to stay connected.

When a winter storm and/or extreme cold are predicted:

  • Stay indoors during a storm
  • Walk carefully on snowy, icy sidewalks
  • Be aware of symptoms of medical cold emergencies
  • If outdoors, prevent medical cold emergencies by wearing warm, loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in several layers.
  • Visit for more information regarding winter weather.

Winter weather can be a lot of fun. If you start thinking how you will prepared for the colder months, like January and February, winter will be easier than if you do not.

Have a plan, be safe and enjoy!