By Amber Cox
Most students are always hoping for a snow day, but they were probably not expecting the snow to come up to their knees.
Rider was hit by a massive snowstorm late Tuesday night into late Wednesday, wreaking havoc on campus.
Although whiteout conditions were observed at Trenton-Mercer airport and throughout parts of Mercer County, Trenton and surrounding areas did not have high enough winds to reach blizzard status. Even so, visibility was less than a quarter mile, and winds were gusting up to 25-30 mph throughout Wednesday.
Strong winds and the weight of the snow have knocked branches off of trees and made some trees topple over. Facilities workers could be seen around campus clearing fallen trees and moving branches off the sidewalks and roadways.
Power was out on the Lawrenceville campus for about an hour, and according to Dean of Students Anthony Campbell, about 500 houses around the area also lost power. Westminster was not affected by any power outage.
“I was outside attempting to clean off my car when the power went out,” junior Abby Muller said. “All at once, you could see all of the buildings’ lights go out.”
Campbell said he wasn’t anxious when the power went out, because the campus has backup methods allowing for heat.
“We have backup generators and emergency lighting and heat,” Campbell said. “RAs are supplied with flashlights to help with lighting.”
Kroner residence hall was hit by a scare when someone smelled smoke.
“There was an odor of smoke on the second and third floors from the generators coming on,” said the Slackwood Fire Co. Chief. “No one was hurt.”
According to Campbell, someone smelled the odor, because the backup generators are run by fuel, and called 911 directly. A number of emergency vehicles were on the scene, including a fire truck and ambulance.
Classes were canceled all day Wednesday and resumed at 11 a.m. on Thursday. Campbell cannot remember a time that school was canceled two days in a row; however, the event of a snow day and a delayed opening has “happened before.” A number of people are involved in the decision to close the school, he said.
“We consult with the police, area universities, maintenance staff, the Office of Emergency Management and Public Safety, and we watch the weather,” Campbell said.
Students received an e-mail around 7:30 a.m. Wednesday night stating classes would be delayed.
On Wednesday, Facilities had a hard time keeping up with the snowfall and clearing the roads, but they were able to make sure the walkways and roads were mostly clear for students, faculty and staff on Thursday morning.
Students enjoyed the snow but are beginning to realize the extent of the damage it may have caused.
“The snow was amazing and gorgeous while it fell, but now it’s just a gross mess that’s going to cause too many problems,” senior class President Stephanie Premselaar said.
Nick Barbati, coordinator of campus activities, is concerned about a conference he is attending with a number of students from the Student Entertainment Council.
“I had to rush to get everything ready for the conference because it’s this weekend,” Barbati said. “The snow made things hectic.”
The conference is in Boston, and with the possibility of snow on Monday, Barbati is concerned about their return on Tuesday.
“I’m more worried about the other people on the roads when we try to come back, than actually getting stuck up there,” he said.
Additional reporting by Kristie Kahl.