Just days after Pennsylvania’s favorite groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, predicted six more weeks of winter, the largest snow storm of the winter blanketed Philadelphia with 28.5 inches of snow on Feb. 6. That much snow had not fallen in the city since the infamous 1996 blizzard.
As if that snowfall were not enough to fulfill Phil’s foresight, a second storm hit four days later, dumping about 16 more inches on the city and surrounding area. As the third significant snowfall this winter, the storm helped to shatter the record for snowiest winter with more than 70 inches recorded so far. The previous record of 65.5 inches was set in the winter of 1995-1996, according to CBS3 news reports.
The Feb. 10 storm, which occurred during the day and consisted of a much heavier snow than the previous storm, forced the closure of several major interstate highways, such as I-78 and I-83, and left about 110,000 electric customers in the area without power, the reports said.
What did all that white stuff mean for Eastern? Can you say five-day weekend?
Student and faculty alike welcomed the impromptu vacation from classes from Feb. 10 to Feb. 14.
However, the storm meant the opposite for the Plant Operations crew, who were forced to stay on campus, sleeping in their conference-turned-bunk room in order to keep up with the constant snowfall.
“It was a long ten days,” Executive Director of Campus Services Carl Altomare said.
The crew was able to clear up the paths and parking lots significantly after the first storm, but the second one just added to the problem.
Not only was the snow heavier and packed down on the paths, but the equipment Plant Ops was using also broke down and they had to repair it during the storm.
In addition, heavy duty equipment was needed to transport the snow out of parking lots because there was simply no place to put it all.
Some students, who were beginning to get stir crazy by the third consecutive snow day, questioned the University’s decision to cancel classes on Feb. 12. The snow had stopped falling about 36 hours before and the walkways were somewhat clear, but several community roads were still a mess and Plants Ops had only been able to open up about 15 percent of the campus parking spaces.
Despite the long hours and less than ideal conditions, Altomare said the crew did a great job and stayed positive.
“Students were really nice too, thanking us while we were out there, ” he said.