Students’ travel plans thwarted as storm hits

New Haven received its first major snowfall of the year on Friday, leaving students scrambling to adjust their travel arrangements before the exam period ends and residential colleges close for winter break.

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning until 3 p.m. Saturday and projected that six to 10 inches of snow will accumulate in the New Haven area in the meantime. Mayor John DeStefano Jr. ordered a parking ban until noon on Saturday, and scores of flights departing from airports frequented by Yale students were canceled as a result of the storm.

Automobiles slowly move through the intersection of York and Elm streets on Friday afternoon as the first major snowstorm of the winter hits New Haven.
Charles Francis
Automobiles slowly move through the intersection of York and Elm streets on Friday afternoon as the first major snowstorm of the winter hits New Haven.

At Tweed-New Haven Airport, the US Airways Express flight scheduled to depart at 3:56 p.m. was canceled, and by midday, more than 30 flights had been canceled at Bradley International Airport, said John Wallace, a spokesman for the airport. At New York City-area airports, more than 600 flights were canceled.

Yale students taking trains are experiencing fewer problems. As of Friday afternoon, Amtrak had not reported any cancellations of trains through New Haven, and most trains have only minor delays, according to the railroad. The Metro-North Web site is reporting that all trains are running as scheduled.

But students still in New Haven may experience problems getting to the train station as a result of the snowstorm. Yale shuttle service was suspended at 4 p.m. Friday because of the severe weather, with regular routes not expected to resume until 6 p.m. Saturday, according to a statement on the Yale Transit Web site. Mini-buses will also not be running until then.

Exams end on Saturday, and University regulations mandate that student rooms be vacated by noon on Sunday, with “no exceptions to this rule.” But many residential college masters sent e-mail messages to their students on Friday offering to help anyone who is stranded in New Haven, and the University pledged to help, too.

“As we do on occasion with international students, the kind of options available would be to stay with local alums or fellow students that live in the area, or stay in guest suites or other spaces that the masters would identify,” Deputy University Secretary Martha Highsmith said in an e-mail message on Friday.

“But,” she added, “let’s hope everyone gets safely where they are going!”

The Associated Press contributed reporting from Hartford.

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