“Worst case” winter storm covers East

Snow plows going through Rt. 9 early on Wednesday morning.

Snow plows going through Rt. 9 early on Wednesday morning.

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By Brendan Sherwood

Last Wednesday Marist students were given a break from classes as a winter snow and ice storm left roads slippery and dangerous. While the storm created an enjoyable break for many students, it led to trouble and work for others.

The biggest problems people in some areas faced were car accidents, widespread power outages, traffic, grounded flights and for New York state high school students, canceled Regents exams.

While the storm had the biggest impact on the Southeast, it spread from Texas to Maine, later moving into Canada. At least 24 deaths were reported across the affected area, mostly from over 1000 car accidents including overturns and multiple-car pileups.

As power lines broke, more than 800,000 people were left without power. In some areas people were left in the cold while it took power companies several days to restore power.

School closings led students to celebrate in some areas, but New York state high school students who wanted to take the state Regents exams early will now have to take them in June.

The storm led to more work for some college faculty members as they had to make sure students were kept safe in the dangerous conditions.

According to Grounds Supervisor Ralph Short, there’s “a whole protocol and procedure” for dealing with winter storms, involving himself, John Gildard from the security department, the registrar’s office and the state police. There are three to four people actually in charge of clearing roads, fire access, parking lots and stairs, but several outside contractors who also shovel stairs and entrances. In addition to extra work, the college had to put in extra money to buy salt and magnesium pellets for walkways. Ralph Short reported that the college spent over $35,000 in salt this year, depleting the budget. It also spent $23,000 on three trailer loads of magnesium pellets.

Short called the storm the “worst case scenario” because of the mixture of snow, sleet and rain. He said the most frustrating part of cleaning up during a storm is trying to receive cooperation from the community, since they must move cars away from buildings for clean-up to progress smoothly. Students also complain that grounds workers are plowing their cars in, but in reality they are limited in where they can put the snow and must keep the roads clear.

 

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