Storm brings first snow to Elm City

Mother Nature may have overtaken Cupid on Wednesday, but the city appears to have survived this winter’s first snowstorm without much difficulty.

The New Haven area received only a few inches of snow overnight and Wednesday morning, but a steady, windswept hail and high gusts made the walk to class a treacherous one for most Elis. And while the snow was long-awaited — other than a few dustings, the area has seen no significant snowfall this winter — the weather made driving difficult and may have thwarted more than a few Valentine’s Day plans in the Elm City.

Yalies revel in the snow blanketing Old Campus after yesterday’s storm closed local schools and covered the city in white.
Matt Lucas
Yalies revel in the snow blanketing Old Campus after yesterday’s storm closed local schools and covered the city in white.

The weather also provided New Haven public school students with their first snow day of the year, while nonessential state employees had a shortened work day and icy conditions closed Bradley International Airport for six hours Wednesday morning as the worst of the storm passed through Connecticut. In the northern part of the state, some areas received as much as eight inches of snow.

Though plows were out in force, some city roads remained unplowed for much of the day, Ward 2 Alderwoman Joyce Chen ’01 said — and even those that were plowed were quickly covered again with snow stirred up by the high winds.

“I think we faced our normal problem of being a little bit overwhelmed,” Chen said. “There were areas in my neighborhood where there hadn’t been any plowing, and those are pretty heavily traveled roads.”

The city canceled some meetings on Tuesday night in light of the oncoming storm and instituted a parking ban as of 12 a.m. Wednesday, which made plowing easier, Chen said. A second overnight ban was to end at 6 a.m. today, though its start was pushed back an hour to allow some Valentine’s Day festivities to proceed unabated. Regardless, the weather comes at a bad time, considering most restaurants are typically fully booked for the holiday.

“Weather like this is horrendous for restaurants because we have some of the best romantic restaurants today,” Ward 7 Alderwoman Frances Clark said. “We’re almost in the same boat as New York in losing money in terms of Valentine’s Day.”

While classes were cancelled at the University of New Haven and University of Connecticut, Yale students still had to trudge through the snow to class, though most appeared to have made it smoothly through the storm. Students reported that some professors were late to class due to slow commutes while others did not make it at all, but on the whole, the class day progressed without much interruption due to the weather.

Carol Duh ’07 said her upbringing in New Jersey prepared her to deal with the worst when it comes to winter weather, and Wednesday’s storm was not much of a problem. But in past years, when she had to walk to classes up Science Hill, the inclement weather was more of an inconvenience — although nothing a little preparation couldn’t take care of, she said.

“I think it’s really important to know how to dress yourself,” she said. “I’m not really happy about [the snow], but I was expecting it.”

And while drivers may have struggled with the icy conditions — traffic was visibly slow on local streets even after precipitation had stopped falling — the snowstorm made for a picturesque campus, at least during the moments when one could look up without being blinded by falling sleet. While Joe Hendel ’07 said he did manage to get to class, the fresh snowfall and a long nap made this snowstorm a comforting one.

“The sunset … reflected into the snow, and it was pretty cool,” he said. “I sort of liked the weather today.”

—Charlotte Martin contributed reporting.

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