After days of relentless snowfall, Ohio State canceled classes Tuesday because officials determined that conditions on and near campus were unsafe. Despite more snowfall Tuesday, OSU will resume classes today.
However, parking for students will be tough today, the university said in an e-mail Tuesday. Lack of pavement lines, snow mounds and icy conditions will complicate driving and parking.
OSU Emergency Management urges anyone having problems on campus today to contact the university’s service center at 292-HELP or email@example.com.
It has been an exceptionally snowy winter in Columbus.
The 9.7 inches of snow that fell on Monday set a record for Feb. 15 snowfall in Columbus, shattering the previous record of 3.1 inches set in 2003.
Through Tuesday afternoon, Columbus has recorded its second-highest monthly snowfall, with 25.4 inches so far in February, said Brian Coniglio, meteorologist for the National Weather Service.
The record for February snowfall is 29.2 inches, set in 1910. January 1978 saw 34.4 inches, which is the record for most snow in a month, Coniglio said.
A total of 45.2 inches of snow has blanketed the city this season, the seventh-highest mark recorded by the National Weather Service. The record for a season in Columbus — between July 1 and June 30 — is 67.8 inches, set in 1910.
OSU Emergency Management sent an e-mail to students, staff and faculty before 6 a.m. Tuesday announcing that classes were canceled.
“Not all employees were told to stay home,” Shelly Hoffman, assistant vice president for media relations, said in an e-mail. “Those deemed essential (public safety, Med Center, residence halls, food service, etc.)” were expected to work Tuesday.
OSU has canceled classes only four times in the last 10 years, with the most recent closing in January 2009, she said.
“Ohio State never shuts down,” Hoffman said. “We have only canceled classes and some activities.”
President E. Gordon Gee made the decision to cancel classes after consulting with other university officials. The fact that Franklin County early Tuesday declared a “level two” snow emergency was a significant factor in the decision, Hoffman said.
The OSU Medical Center remained open, as well as residence halls and public safety departments, according to OSU Emergency Management.
“Decisions like this are made based on road conditions and travel conditions for faculty, staff and students,” said Bob Armstrong, director of Emergency Management.
“It’s been difficult for the road crews around the city and on campus to keep up with snow removal,” Armstrong said.
Conditions have certainly been adverse for drivers on- and off-campus, as evidenced by a pileup involving more than 40 vehicles that shut down 20 miles of Interstate 71 on Monday. No one was seriously injured in the incident.
Events at the Wexner Center for the Arts were canceled, and the Younkin Success Center was closed for the day.
Despite the storm, some OSU events went on as planned. The Black Eyed Peas concert at the Schottenstein Center Tuesday night went on as scheduled. Workout facilities such as the RPAC and the Adventure Recreation Center remained open.
The Science and Engineering Library was the only library open on campus Tuesday.
Campus dining options were limited as well, with Oxley’s by the Numbers Cafe and the Pizza At the Drake restaurant both closed Tuesday.
“The P.A.D. is closed because the university is closed, and the P.A.D. is primarily run by students,” said Diana Mitchell, assistant manager at the pizza restaurant.
However, many other dining locations remained open, including MarketPlace, Mirror Lake Creamery, North Commons and Kennedy Commons.
The final decision to cancel classes is made by OSU President E. Gordon Gee, with recommendations from departments around campus.
The OSU Newark Campus was the only regional campus closed Tuesday. The Marion, Lima, Mansfield and Wooster campuses remained open.