Alex Delaney-Gesing & John Goold
It seems as if Punxsutawney Phil and Mother Nature were on the same page when welcoming in the month of February with a white blanket covering the northern parts of Ohio.
In Lorain County, an estimated 19 inches of snowfall was tracked throughout the week of Feb. 1, according to the National Weather Service. Winter storm warnings were issued at the beginning of the week, along with a Level 1 snow emergency being announced by Lorain County Sheriff’s Department.
With three levels of snow emergency classifications, a Level 1 indicates that motorists are urged to drive very cautiously and roadways may be icy and hazardous with blowing and drifting snow, as established by the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness.
With all this accumulated snowfall hitting at once, schools and even small businesses were forced to close down on Feb. 2. Though snow days were always hoped for in grade school, not all post-secondary students view the off day as a bonus.
“When I was little I used to love snow days, but now it just seems like they add more stress to my classes,” said Adam Smyers, a Lorain County Community College student. “It’s one less class meeting but you are still responsible for the readings and homework so even though you have the day off there’s still work to be done.”
Luckily, LCCC was only closed on Feb. 2 due to the campus’ Physical Plant crew being able to keep up with the snow and clear campus for classes to resume the following day.
“In response to the forecasted winter storm and snowfall [we] had crews on campus Sunday plowing and preparing the site,” said Dale Lucas, director of LCCC’s Physical Plant Operations said. “The team assembled again on Monday at 2:30 a.m. to continue and make sure the college [was] safe and accessible for students and visitors.”
With the hard work of the Physical Plant team and outside help, LCCC’s parking lots were cleared and ready for use by the time the campus re-opened on Feb. 3.
“It was a true team effort as we had regular full-time, part-time, student helpers as well as Triangle Services staff on campus to support removal and cleanup of over 12 inches of snowfall [on Monday],” Lucas said.“The crews consisted of 20 people, [with] some working 12-14 hour shifts.
Already this winter season, the Physical Plant Operations department has used up a large portion of their overtime budget, according to Lucas. After the accumulation of snow over the past few weeks, an entire truckload of sidewalk salt has already been used up, and an emergency delivery was expedited. But after the heavy snow that left LCCC buried, the Physical Plant fulfilled their duties in ensuring the safety of students, faculty and staff on campus.
“Our entire team did a phenomenal job bearing the weather, working a lot of hours and getting campus ready for occupancy,” Lucas said.
Despite the parking lots being cleared out in time for classes, snow continued to fall in small doses, making it difficult to see the pavement lines to park their vehicles. As a result, students, faculty and staff ended up having to park their cars near landmarks such as the light poles, curbs and other areas typically unaccustomed to being used as parking spots.
“Parking is always tough but when a storm like that hits it really turns the parking lots into a zoo,” Smyers said.
As Phil the groundhog has warned, there is still plenty of winter to go, though hopefully not enough to leave LCCC students with more snowdays in the future.