Freezing temps close campus
Canadian cold air causes College Station shivers
Published: Thursday, January 23, 2014
Updated: Thursday, January 23, 2014 22:01
Expectations of sleet and snow caused the University to close its doors Thursday evening, as winter weather may cause roadway safety hazards.
While Jared Plushnick, chief meteorologist for KAGS, said the sun may come out Friday afternoon, the temperature will not get warm enough to melt any snow and ice, making Friday night’s driving conditions dangerous as well.
“Friday morning will be below freezing, we’ll still see clouds around, so Friday morning’s commute will be hazardous,” Plushnick said. “In the afternoon, temperatures will get above freezing and we’ll see a little bit of sun, so that will help melt the snow. Again the problem will be Friday night and Saturday morning, anything that melts will refreeze. And then Saturday, sun’s out, 60s, everything melts.”
Plushnick said unlike the ice College Station experienced at the beginning of the year, this storm will be more widespread.
“There will be transition to freezing rain, a little bit of sleet and eventually we’ll see snow,” Plushnick said. “The question is, ‘Will the snow accumulate on the roads?’ I’m not sure about that quite yet, but there will be some accumulation, maybe about half an inch, maybe an inch of snow on the grass or grassy surfaces. But I think it’s going to be treacherous on bridges, overpasses, secondary roads and if there’s nobody on primary roads [Thursday] those could get pretty bad too.”
Plushnick said College Station hasn’t reported even flakes of snow since Feb. 9, 2011. This storm, Plushnick said, came about from a mixture of weather ingredients.
“One [factor] is cold air,” Plushnick said. “A cold front came through this morning and that brought in all that Canadian air. So we have the cold air in place. Number two you need moisture, and we’re actually getting moisture from three different sources … So we’re getting all these sources coming together and you have the cold air. You put it all together, you get this weather.”
The winter weather will not end with the storm, and Plushnick said College Station should expect colder temperatures continuing into the next few weeks.
“I don’t know about actual snow or sleet, but it’s going to get cold again,” Plushnick said. “There are several cold fronts that are coming in the next one to two weeks. We will have some days that are in the 60s. For example, this weekend will be great, but next week we’ll have more consistent blasts of cold air.”
Elijah Ramos, sophomore electrical engineering major, said class cancellations did not affect his schedule, but he did plan to use the morning to his advantage.
“Honestly I’m going to catch up on my homework that I have because I think I have homework in four classes and I’ve got an ultimate [Frisbee] tournament this weekend,” Ramos said.
The city of College Station sent out a press release Thursday afternoon warning citizens about the dangers of driving in inclement weather. The release included suggestions for staying safe, including avoiding travel if at all possible during periods when roadways may be impacted, avoiding bridges and overpasses and reducing speed at all times.
Melissa Borchgrevink, sophomore psychology major, said she would be taking safety precautions as the storm moved in.
“I’ll drive slower and I will be bundled up as I go outside and face the cold,” Borchgrevink said. “If it happens to snow, and let’s say the snow sticks, I’m definitely going to have to leave later in the day when the snow melts. That’s going to be kind of scary, I’ll probably be driving under the speed limit then.”
Plushnick said citizens should expect poor driving conditions and should stay off the roads.
“I’ll tell you, I used to live in Maine, and this is nothing to us when I lived up there,” Plushnick said. “But for people here who have never dealt with this, honestly when you go home, stay home. If you do not have to go to work tomorrow, stay home. The problem with Friday is that temperatures are going to be so cold that the snow and ice that’s on the road will likely stay and keep frozen, so we’ll see slick roads all day long on Friday. Stay home, that’s my honest advice.”