Winter Storm Watch– Wednesday, 12/16 through Thursday, 12/17

December 15, 2020

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for New York City and its surrounding areas beginning at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, December 16 through Thursday, December 17 at 1 p.m.

Heavy snow is expected, with forecasts of 8 to 14 inches and wind gusts as high as 50 mph in the city and surrounding areas.  Expect very difficult and slippery travel conditions that could impact travel.  Use mass transit when at all possible, and exercise extreme caution when traveling during the storm.  Be sure to check the Columbia Transportation website for changes or delays to University shuttles, and refer to the Columbia Preparedness website for possible Morningside campus gate closures on Wednesday.

Help protect your home or office, prevent property damage and conserve energy by following these tips prior to the storm and throughout winter:

  • Take precautions.  
    • Close and lock all windows, including in spaces not normally occupied. (It is in these “forgotten” rooms that, in addition to wasting energy, an open window can cause freezing and split pipes and resulting damage. It may be useful to designate someone to this task, so it is not forgotten.)  
    • Leave all radiator valves and fan coils turned on to ensure adequate heating and to avoid freeze damage. Fan coils should be set to the slowest speed setting. If you have questions about valve or coil settings, please contact Facilities—for Morningside/Manhattanville, call (212) 854-2222; for CUIMC, call 212-305-HELP (4357), option 3. 
    • Clear clothing or furniture away from heaters to avoid inadequate heating that may cause freeze-ups and damage.  
    • Make sure all faucets are off.  
    • Close fume hoods when not in use and shut down non-essential lab equipment.  
  • Be in touch. If you see an unsafe condition on campus including leaks, opened windows and doors, or other issues, please immediately contact Facilities at 212-854-2222 at Morningside/Manhattanville, and 212-305-HELP (4357) option 3, at the Medical Center. We are open 24/7 and are prepared to handle your calls.  
  • Be careful. Use caution when navigating around during the icy winter months. 

For assistance with campus and building services, contact Facilities at 212-854-2222 at Morningside/Manhattanville, and 212-305-HELP (4357) option 3, at the Medical Center. For students living in the Morningside residence halls, the Hartley Hospitality Desk can be reached 24/7 at 212-854-2779.

The Emergency Management Operations Team is monitoring the situation and will keep you updated by email and/or text as well as via the University homepage, the Columbia Preparedness site and the Medical Center Operations site should new information become available that impacts you or our campus. We also recommend checking your school’s website for any weather-related changes.

For the latest information on weather and transit, please visit:


The Emergency Management Operations Team