A frigid welcome

Brutal snowstorm and bitter winds lead to school shutdowns in first week of spring semester


Update, 11:30 a.m.:

Classes have been canceled- until 5 p.m. Tuesday, according to a university statement.

University officials cite dropping temperatures and blowing snow as the reason for the cancellation.


The combination of dropping temperatures and climbing snowfall left students without classes all day Monday and Tuesday morning — but for some, the work has just begun.

After a Monday snow day for MSU and many other schools across the state, officials decided to reopen MSU operations and classes at 12 p.m. All morning classes are canceled, but afternoon courses and the highly-anticipated basketball game against Ohio State at Breslin Center will move forward as planned.

It is the seventh time in school history that the university has closed and the second time it has closed for two consecutive days.

The National Weather Service in Grand Rapids predicted the high temperature only will reach 6 degrees, and wind chills might reach as low as 25 degrees below zero.

East Lansing felt the weight of more than a foot of snow throughout the weekend, leaving city and on-campus crews with a powdery mess to clean.

The staff at MSU Infrastructure Planning and Facilities, or IPF, have worked nonstop since Sunday when the snowstorm hit in order to keep roads and sidewalks clear, prevent pipes from freezing and remove snow buildup.

About 80 percent of campus was cleared of snow as of 11 a.m. on Monday, IPF communications manager Karen Zelt said.

East Lansing employees also are working to clear the streets for residents.

Mayor Nathan Triplett said the Department of Public Works has been working around the clock and has “made great progress.”

He said city operations should return to normal Tuesday afternoon.

City officials declared a snow emergency until 5 p.m. Monday to help out the bulk of the cleanup, East Lansing Mayor Pro Tem Diane Goddeeris said.

“Declaring a state of emergency helps us clear the streets,” she said. “The police, fire and Department of Public Works are working to clear streets under the coordination of the city manager. Our job is to ensure that there are policies in place to help them do their job.”

Lansing experienced a record-setting amount of snowfall on Jan. 5 with 9.5 inches of snow, beating out the 1873 record of 2.5 inches.

The university is urging students to refrain from parking close to sidewalks, as it might hinder snow-clearing attempts by IPF.

Parking also is prohibited Tuesday in residence hall loops between 2 a.m and 6 a.m. to allow workers time to clear snow.

A university statement cited ongoing snow removal, low wind chills and blowing snow as a reason for classes being canceled before noon.

But students have weathered more than just inconvenient snow, since only one cafeteria in each neighborhood operated during regular hours because of the snow days.

Advertising freshman Jack Chase, along with a slew of other on-campus residents, endured the hindrance in the dining halls.

“I had to walk to Holmes from Akers and wait in a line that wrapped down the stairs,” Chase said. ”(The staff) were treating it like a restaurant. They weren’t letting anyone in because it was too busy. There was nowhere to sit because there were so many people.”

Staff writers Simon Schuster, Erik Sargent and Lauren Gibbons contributed to this report.

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