Snow on top of ice on top of ice on top of snow. A string of winter weather left Shippensburg University fighting to keep roads and walkways clear, and caused the school to cancel classes on two days last week.
SU was closed Monday, Feb. 3, and Wednesday, Feb. 5, due to serious weather conditions and icy roads. According to Peter Gigliotti, executive director for university communications and marketing, classes were to start at noon on Wednesday, but he eventually announced that the university would be closed all day.
“All members of the campus community are encouraged to be prepared for cold, snowy and slippery conditions,” Gigliotti said in an email sent to SU students on Wednesday.
Heavy rain started Tuesday around 10:30 p.m. and continued through the night into the early morning. According to Weather.com, there was a low of 20 degrees and this caused an ice storm to hit the area. Roads had been plowed around campus for hours on end by workers through the day and night.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Montgomery County had 340 electrical fires, 1,001 road obstructions, 153 crashes and more than 4,000 calls for police assistance. More than 35,000 customers lost power to LG&E and Kentucky Utilities as reported by FOX 54 News.
The weather recently has become so severe that SU has been closed twice in one week.
Darrell McKenrick, loader operator for SU, said that he has been called multiple times to plow sidewalks, main roads and pathways for SU’s campus.
McKenrick was hard at work on the night shift on Wednesday morning around 1 a.m.
“I usually come in at 10 p.m. and my break starts at 7 a.m.,” McKenrick said. “It’s especially tough tonight because there’s so much ice under the snow.”
He explained that the traction was becoming increasingly difficult because ice was constantly rebuilding on the ground every 10 minutes.
Although the snow has caused a string of missed classes and excited students, the maintenance workers of SU have been hard at work.
“Depending on the weather, I could be here from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. if the sidewalks and paths become too icy,” said Doug Stepler, maintenance worker for Naugle and McLean Hall.
Stepler said that he has been called in at 4 a.m. on the worst days of the year. He explains that the weather is so unpredictable that anything can happen. One day it could be warm and the next it could be a blizzard, so he constantly has to be on his toes for that phone call.