Nearly 18 inches of snow blanketed the Yale campus Thursday, canceling classes and causing minor traffic incidents on slick city streets.
Flakes started falling before sunrise Thursday morning and persisted throughout the day, tapering off at around 7:30 p.m. The University suspended its shuttle service at around 8 a.m. and canceled classes at noon, though a number of classes still met.
In New Haven, Mayor Toni Harp authorized the use of as many plows as necessary earlier in the day, and shortly thereafter, an unprecedentedly large force of around 60 plows took to the streets, said Rick Fontana, deputy director of New Haven’s Office of Emergency Management. There was a parking ban in effect all Thursday, and it extended into early Friday morning and Harp sent home all nonesssential city workers.
“Although this storm certainly stacks up as one of the biggest ones in the last couple of years, it certainly is not what we had dealt with back with winter storm Nemo,” Fontana said. “With that being said, we’ve never had [this many] trucks on the road dealing with this magnitude. It’s a lot of vehicles for us.”
Traveling conditions were treacherous for students and city residents alike. Around 8:15 a.m., a CT Transit bus crashed at the corner of Whalley Avenue and Fitch Street, according to a release from the New Haven Police Department. There were six passengers with reported injuries, but four of them declined treatment. The other two were taken to the Yale New Haven Hospital with minor injuries.
The CT Transit authority suspended all bus service at noon.
Fontana also said a number of ambulances and other vehicles got stuck in the snow at many points throughout the day.
Students braved blustery gales as they made their way to morning classes. A number of them mocked the conditions on the Facebook page Overheard at Yale, comparing the walk to Science Hill to a trek up snowy mountain peaks. Later in the day, though, many took to the outdoors to enjoy the weather, partake in snowball fights and pose for winter photos.
“It was crazy,” said Pablo Vazquez Paramo ’20, who was caught in the crossfire of an Old Campus snowball fight on Thursday night. “The snow was so packed … and it just kept going.”
Students in professor Timothy Snyder’s course “Eastern Europe since 1914” were among those who still had class Thursday afternoon. Laszlo Gendler ’20, a student in the class, said he was grateful that Snyder was willing to give a lecture, but he was jealous of his peers who got to play in the snow while he sat in a classroom.
Still, not all students were disappointed that some classes carried on as usual.
“I really appreciated [Snyder’s effort] to deliver this great lecture today,” Alexander Sikorski ’20 said. “I didn’t think the conditions were so apocalyptic to justify a total cancellation so I was pleased to be able to go and learn about Ukraine today.”
Many University employees were given permission to leave work early when classes were canceled, but those performing critical roles, such as working in dining and student safety, were told to stay through the storm. In a University-wide email, Janet Lindner, deputy vice president for Human Resources and Administration, and Jack Callahan ’80, senior vice president of operations, thanked those staff members.
“We are grateful to the many staff members who worked tirelessly today and the many who will be working through the night to have meals ready for students, sidewalks cleared, patients cared for, mail delivered, labs functioning smoothly and the campus kept safe,” they wrote.
Gov. Dannel Malloy announced on Wednesday evening that nonessential state employees should not report to work on Thursday.
In his statement, he urged residents to stay off roads and warned that even with the full force of snow removal vehicles, the storm would pose a challenge to cities in the state.
“We need roads clear so that emergency personnel and utility crews can do their job,” he said in a Wednesday statement. “As such, I urge all Connecticut residents to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary.”
The local parking ban expired at 6 a.m. Friday.
Kevin Swain contributed reporting.
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