Students awoke Wednesday morning to a bright sky and clear walkways. But around 10:00 a.m., flecks of snow began to drift onto campus — increasing to a winter deluge that left lawns and sidewalks covered in wet mush.
The first snow of the season did not disrupt Yale classes, but several campus events and extracurricular meetings were rescheduled. Some students took advantage of the snow, rolling snowmen on Old Campus and snapping pictures of the serene white blanket covering the city. In the evening, the Freshman Class Council invited all freshmen to a midnight snowball fight.
“For now we are in our regular alert for a regular snowstorm,” University Vice President Linda Lorimer said. “We’re following it very closely. “
Maria Bouffard, director of emergency management for the University, said that the campus would only be minimally affected by the snow, but weather forecasts predicted heavy snowfall throughout the night and the possibility of power outages as a result of strong winds. The emergency management team, she added, has been in conversation about the snow and that the facilities department is prepared to clean and salt streets as well as monitor trees at risk of falling. Bouffard said there are currently no concerns that safety measures will be hindered as a result of any damage from Hurricane Sandy.
Chief Administrative Officer of New Haven Robert Smuts ’01, however, expressed unease that the snow could exacerbate damage to city power lines already weakened by the hurricane.
“We’re concerned about the power lines with temporary repairs,” he said. “The snow might damage them and cause a power outage.”
Still, Smuts said Wednesday’s snowfall will not have any damaging effect on the Elm City. He predicted that no significant damage will result in the coming days, though he said the weather will be “cold and gross.”
Both Bouffard and Smuts said weather forecasts predict high winds and flooding along the Connecticut coastline. But Smuts said the lack of lunar tides, which were present when Sandy hit the city, minimizes the danger of flooding in New Haven. Bouffard added that Yale is not at risk of coastal flooding because none of the buildings are sufficiently close to the water.
Smuts said that the main concern over the coming days is ensuring that roads do not become dangerously slippery and that the city prevents power outages.
“We don’t have any ploughs on the ground because there has not been accumulation,” Smuts said. However, combined tree damage from Sandy and the snow could lead to “some branches coming down.”
Yale Police Department Assistant Chief Steven Woznyk said that the University Emergency Operations Team succeeded in monitoring the hurricane and continued to operate effectively during Wednesday’s snow.
“We find that our preparations have proven to be effective,” he said in a Wednesday email to the News, adding that campus operations relied heavily on the team during last week’s hurricane.
Students reacted to the snow with a mixture of excitement and frustration.
“I really love the snow, but it made my hike up Science Hill much more difficult,” Marion Hirshberg ’16 said.
National weather forecasts predict heavy snow and low temperatures in the New England area this winter.
Julia Zorthian contributed reporting.