#MSUSnowDay: Winter storm leads to three days of canceled classes

Kate Russell/The News Students and families in Murray used the campus and local snow days to go sledding.
Kate Russell/The News Students and families in Murray used the campus and local snow days to go sledding.

Kate Russell/The News
Students and families in Murray used the campus and local snow days to go sledding.

Kaylee Clark, junior from Paris, Tenn., felt a substantial weight lifted from her shoulders when classes were canceled at Murray State for the third time Wednesday.

“I was absolutely thrilled,” Clark said. “I was very worried (Tuesday night) before the decision was made that I would have to get my car unstuck from the driveway.

“My main road to travel is U.S. Highway 641, which has had numerous wrecks in the past several days.”

After the passing of an eerie March winter storm, students rejoiced in their moments of freedom from class.

They grabbed sleds, or anything resembling one, and found the nearest hill.

As students enjoyed the snow, crews from the state, city and University worked to clear roads and sidewalks.

According to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, salt supplies have reached critical levels in 2013 and 2014.

The cabinet has asked Kentucky counties to conserve salt supplies and has tapped into the state’s emergency reserve in Louisville, Ky.

During this winter season, the KTC has used more than 410,000 tons of salt, compared to 160,000 tons in 2013.

Snow and ice operations cost the KTC more than $53 million this year.

Dan Spaeth, meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Paducah, Ky., said he hasn’t seen a winter like this since he started in 2001.

“1994 had a lot of cold air and then there was a really bad winter in the late 70s, but this has hopefully been one for the recordbooks,” Spaeth said. “This has been a bad (winter). We’re ready for it to end.”

Spaeth said he doesn’t forsee any severe weather approaching, especially not the intrusions of cold air the area saw last week.

He said in March, the NWS usually begins preparing for thunderstorms and tornados – not ice and snow.

Speath said the winter storm could’ve been worse, with damaging amounts of freezing rain.

“If all of that sleet became freezing rain, it would’ve been similar to 2009,” Spaeth said. “It would’ve been really ugly from a power standpoint. We try not to summon those images, everyone around here is so sensitized to that (storm).”

In 2009, an ice storm left areas in the region without power for weeks. Murray State classes were canceled and students went home.

Although students didn’t lose an entire week to the weather, some are still worried about making up the classes they missed.

Clark said she still expects to have everything done, but she thinks it’ll be difficult for professors to fit in required classwork before Spring Break.

“We will catch up; I don’t think it’s impossible,” she said.

Throughout the week, academic schedules were changed to conform to the inclement weather.

Midterm grade submission deadlines for professors were extended to Fri., March 14.

First half-semester courses still ended Wednesday, although faculty were asked to help students with missed exams or other coursework. Second half-semester courses began Thursday.

 

Story by Lexy Gross, Editor-in-Chief