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Extreme Cold Temperatures - Wind Chills

The combination of temperatures well below freezing and strong winds can be dangerous if you are outdoors for significant periods of time, and if you are not wearing appropriate warm clothing.

The National Weather Service uses "wind chill" as the most accurate way of calculating these dangers during extreme cold weather. A combination of the latest weather knowledge, medical knowledge, computer modeling and clinical trials have informed the guidance on wind chill and safety.

What is considered a "Dangerous" Wind Chill?

For most individuals, wind chills of -18F or colder, combined with skin exposure of greater than 30 minutes can lead to frostbite. If wind chills drop to -30F, then frostbite can occur in 10 minutes. (See Wind Chill Chart for Critical Values)

For the OU Norman Campus, weather monitoring commences when the wind chill factor is expected to go below freezing (32F). Expected wind chill factors below zero (0F) means a heightened awareness of weather conditions, and campus safety officials monitor the weather on a minute-to-minute basis.  The latest weather information for the OU Norman Campus is always available at

What Should I Wear in Extreme Cold Conditions?

Always dress appropriately for the weather. In extreme cold, wear a hat or a coat with a hood because half of your body heat can be lost from your head. Use your hood, earmuffs or cover your ears with a scarf or the collar of your coat. Wear tight fitting mittens and socks as your fingers and toes are the next most vulnerable parts of your body. Wear several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing. Trapped air between the layers will insulate you. Stay dry! If your clothing is wet, your body is likely to lose heat more quickly. When wind chills are below zero, limit your outdoor exposure by spending as much time as possible indoors.

Have a Question or Concern about Cold Weather?

We are always available to address your specific concerns when bitter cold air arrives. You may email us your questions at or ask questions via our social media outlets (Twitter @OUEmergencyPrep ; Facebook )

Severe Weather - Lightning Safety - Tornado

Postpone activities promptly if you hear thunder and go to a safe shelter immediately. Get out of the water and don’t stand in puddles of water, even if you are wearing rubber boots.

Sturdy buildings are the safest place to be. Avoid sheds, picnic shelters, baseball dugouts, and bleachers. If no sturdy building is nearby get in a hardtop vehicle with windows closed. The steel frame of the vehicle provides some protection if you are not touching metal.

If you can’t get to a shelter, avoid trees. Crouch in the open, keeping twice as far away from a tree as it is tall.

Coaches and leaders should monitor the weather during practice sessions or games.

Avoid metal! Drop metal backpacks, stay away from clotheslines, fences, exposed sheds and electrically conductive elevated objects. Don’t hold on to metal items such golf clubs, fishing rods, tennis rackets or tools.

Stay several yards away from other people. Don’t share a bleacher bench or huddle in a group.



Call 911 immediately. Get medical attention as quickly as possible.

Give first aid. If the victim has stopped breathing, begin rescue breathing. If the heart has stopped beating, a trained person should give CPR. Use an AED if available. If the person has a pulse and is breathing, address any other injuries.

People struck by lightning carry no electrical charge that can shock other people. You can attend to them without risk of shock.

The City of Norman maintains a citywide civil defense warning siren that will be sounded in the event of a tornado warning. If severe weather is imminent and you are outdoors, move indoors as quickly as possible.

Consider obtaining an emergency kit and weather radio for your department.

Shut off any equipment that might be affected by a temporary loss of  electricity.

Close hallway doors as you leave to shield the corridors from flying debris.

Move to any of the best available refuge areas in the building. Become familiar with the location of the best available refuge area in your building before a storm occurs. The locations of the specific shelters for residence halls can be found at

When you are off campus or in buildings without designated shelters, move to a small room on lower levels, an interior hallway, or basement. GET IN, GET DOWN AND COVER UP!

Avoid upper floors, large glassed areas, auditoriums, and windows.

Stay out of parking garages, auditoriums and exterior walkways. Stay away from electrical appliances.

Use the telephone for emergency calls ONLY.


Call 911 to report any damage.

There WILL NOT be an all clear signal from the siren system in Norman.