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Friday, August 21, 2015

UMass to close Friday at noon due to expected snowstorm

Shaina Mishkin/Collegian

The University of Massachusetts announced last night that campus would cease operations today at noon in anticipation of a coming snowstorm.

The campus is expected to reopen tomorrow at noon.

“We felt it was important to give people a plan for tomorrow based on what we knew this evening so that they could make preparations for tomorrow to go to class,” said UMass spokesperson Ed Blaguszewski.

Chief Meteorologist Ed Carroll of WGGB-TV abc40 said that while light snow is expected this morning, the majority of the snowfall will occur tonight and early tomorrow. He predicted the total accumulation to be between 12 and 18 inches of snow.

Blaguszewski stressed emergency preparations for students, particularly for those living in off-campus housing.

“If you’re living off campus, make sure you’re prepared,” he said. “Make sure you have food, water supplies, extra batteries, just in case the power goes out. Monitor the bus schedules to see when the buses are running on the PVTA site.”

Blaguszewski said students living on campus should stay out of the way of snowplows trying to clear walkways and should in general keep an eye out and stay safe.

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) asked motorists to stay off of the roads during the storm to allow plows to clear the roads in a bulletin released yesterday afternoon. MEMA also warned that visibility would be near zero throughout this afternoon into tomorrow.

MEMA also gave emergency preparedness tips in the bulletin, such as monitoring the storm to obtain the most up-to-date information and following directions given by public officials.

Other advised preparations include checking batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, as well as preparing an emergency kit filled with flashlights, extra batteries, a portable radio, bottled water, non-perishable food and a first aid kit.

The storm has been given the name “Nemo” by some. Carroll said that naming winter storms comes from The Weather Channel trying to increase ratings on their channel.

The Weather Channel website said that the naming of winter storms, which began in the 2012-2013 season, is meant to help raise awareness and communication for potentially “disruptive, impactful winter storms.”

Hampshire College announced last night it would close all operations today. Similarly, Mount Holyoke College will be closed today until noon tomorrow. Amherst College and Smith College hadn’t announced any plans of closure as of last night.

UMass said in an email to students that officials will be monitoring the storm overnight and an update would be provided at 6 a.m. today.

Patrick Hoff can be reached at phoff@student.umass.edu.

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