Snowstorm cancels Tuesday evening classes

Robert Baird

Tuesday saw the first time all classes have been canceled because of snow since February 2011.

The afternoon’s snow storm led to the cancelation of all regularly scheduled night classes. The school follows a specific protocol when making these determinations, according to Bradley Hoey, director of communications and marketing.

“We rely on a variety of sources to determine [class cancelation], primarily the Human Resource services,” Hoey said. “The school’s decision is based on our weather model.”

The school predicted six inches of snow, which would taper off in the evening, according to Hoey.

Classes are canceled mainly to avoid unnecessary travel by commuters, according to Steven Cunningham, vice president of administration. He said the school was being cautious and taking the people into consideration.

“We track the web and road conditions very carefully when making this decision,” Cunningham said. “DeKalb has a high tolerance to snowfall. We were on the margin with this one because it was a little more active than expected.”

Cunningham said the ground crews have substantially cleared all walkways and roadways on campus. He said that they should be fully cleared within a couple of days.

Lauren Vogt, junior visual communication major and NIU cheerleader, had practice until 10:30 p.m. Tuesday. She said walking back to Neptune from practice at the Convocation Center was going to be a pain.

According to Vogt, cheerleaders who would normally commute were planning on staying in DeKalb Tuesday night because of the snow.

NIU meteorologist Gilbert Sebenste said the Hoffman Estates campus experienced five inches of snow Tuesday. He said weaker weather will come through DeKalb today and there will be about one inch of “dusting” snowfall.

Sebenste said meteorologists had been expecting Tuesday’s snowfall for a week. He said they feared the timing of the storm because the afternoon is the worst time of the day for a winter storm to hit.

“Commuters are trying to get home from work, and they’re usually not prepared before going to work,” Sebenste said. “This is optimal weather for road salt to work well.”

Sebenste called this year’s winter “back loaded.” This is when there’s considerably heavier snowfall from late January until spring, after a light snow from November until early January.

“This is typical for this time of year,” Sebenste said. “[But] the snowfall we’ve had this February is significantly above average.”

For information about the current weather, call 815-753-6736 or visit www.niu.edu/emergencyinfo/weather/index.shtml.