Emergency Operations Methodology for Extreme Winter Storm Events


Severe winter storms develop through the combination of multiple meteorological factors. These severe winter storms bring threats of damage to infrastructure and personal health impacts from low temperatures and/or strong winds, but often exacerbate these threats with heavy accumulations of snow.

Many state agencies lack the plans necessary to guide them through an effective response that needs to be coordinated between multiple agencies and jurisdictions who typically do not interact on a day-to-day basis. Therefore, these types of plans are often most effective when they provide a formal communications protocol and contact information for these agencies to follow.


The goal of this project was to provide guidance to transportation agencies seeking to develop or improve and expand their current plans and policies for handling severe-to-extreme storm events. Such events typically include the involvement of multiple departments within a transportation agency and coordination of multiple agencies (including state and local) affected by the extreme winter weather.


Researchers found that agencies with effective response plans for severe winter weather employ a transportation emergency management office, facilitate interagency cooperation, and embrace technologies for tracking and reallocating equipment. State DOTs can use the case studies and recommendations in the final report to help improve their own response plans and develop more efficient, flexible approaches to ensuring public safety during intense winter storms.

Final webinar took place on June 28, 2018.