Snow Daze

Posted By Pamela on Feb 2, 2008 | 6 comments

braunysnowman.jpgThere is something magical about snow days that never goes away. Thursday afternoon, as the flakes fell the faculty gathered in giddy anticipation of a possible day of freedom. Everyone prognosticated on the possible time the call would come. Would evening classes be closed? Would we miss out morning meetings? For me, it wasn’t as fun to think about – I don’t teach on Friday’s and tend to work from home – but still, there is something magical in a snow day.

There are some universities that pride themselves on never closing. At MSU, classes met despite blizzards, white out conditions, -40 C / -40 F cold, and every other possible winter calamity. Only when the thermometer dipped below -70 F / -57 C did the doors close and were all students instructed to stay in our dorms. At Harvard, Nor’easters were generally no reason for no classes. When the sky dumped 20+ inches over night, only then did we get to stay home.

SIUE is wiser. Our students generally commute to campus, often 30-60 minutes per direction.

At 5:11am Friday I got email (the time stamp reported), telling me campus was closed. By 5:40 the faculty phone tree reached my voicemail, giving me a different digital form of the message.img_1991.JPG

My husband (who also works from home), and I spent the day ignoring our snow filled driveway, inside and mostly warm watching the pretty weather.

Today we played in the snow. A snow man was built. The frisbee was thrown for the dog. Much fun was had by all.

Some work was accomplished. The first round of Astronomy Cast buttons were sent out. Some email was successfully plowed through.  Mostly, we just enjoyed the white stuff.

Woot for happy dogs in snow.


  1. We had a two-hour delay for freezing rain on Friday here in south-central Pennsylvania. The university opened at 10am, so I missed my 9am class but went in for my office hours 10am-noon. It was above freezing by then.

    But we also have a lot of commuting students, so it was a good call. That makes a difference in how universities handle bad weather. They just needed to let us know before 6:05am. It would have been nice to crawl back into bed for another hour.

    Even though missing a day throws off the schedule, it’s still fun to play in the snow. I’m still hoping we’ll get some to play in this season. Last year my kids built a snow fort.

    I remember one snowstorm when I was in grad school at the University of Maryland when the meteorology grad students were playing with the computer models and predicting 20+ inches of snow when the weather service was predicting under 12 inches. It was February 1983, and I think the university closed for a week. We had thundersnow in that one, and the snowfall was well over 20 inches. I think those were fairly early computer models for such storms.

    The Internet is great. I found a scientifically-detailed page comparing that storm to the one in January 1996 when we got over 30 inches here. How cool is that?! Pamela, I think you were in Boston for the 2006 one shown here

    Three cheers for snow days.

  2. Hi Beth, That 2006 snow storm is the one that closed Harvard 🙂

    Thundersnow is the weirdest thing. I remember as a kid in the early 80s there was a Nor-Easter that hit Boston and caused the BIG pine tree in the neighbors front yard to fall and take out a corner of their roof. My dad was in Montreal on a business trip and my mom went out to try and shovel the drive so that if he made it back he’d be able to pull into the driveway. She didn’t last long outside because lightening scared her straight back into the house (Logon Airport was closed, and stayed closed, so it was okay that the driveway was filled with snow.)

  3. Heh.

    I’ve never had a snow day since I left High School. SUNY Oswego was one of
    those schools that prided itself on never closing. In fact, I have a very
    specific story as to why that was the case.

    The vast majority of the time during my professional life when I’ve woken up
    and they’ve closed the schools has been to go to work as normal and wonder
    what the heck was the problem. My mind has usually blamed the buses not
    starting cause Gods know that the Jerred is not the most amazing car in the
    world (the recent example of the wheel falling off coming back from
    Cambridge as a possible example. 🙂 )

    Now that I, as well, am working from home I still have issue with weather.
    Friday, for example, we had an ice storm here and I didn’t know it until I
    actually had to go out to the car to drive it to the garage so the new
    wheel could be put on. There was a solid mm of ice all over the car, and my
    housemate upstairs only refrained himself from tackling me to the ground
    yelling, “Don’t do it, you fool!” when he learned I was going to the garage
    which was about 500m away.

    And the worst part about this story is that the desk to the home office looks
    out of a bay window! 🙂

  4. I’m still surprised that -40C = -40F, ever since that science quiz question that pounded me (“which deg F = deg C” was the question). Did you choose that temperature on purpose?

  5. Every year I was at MSU, there was at least 1 week it was -40! The temp was chosen because I remembered it with so much hate 😛

    Snow I like, -40 I don’t.

  6. That’s a coincidence!

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