Nemo finds UNH
Winter storm hits Durham, snows in campus
Published: Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 15:02
Nemo found UNH this past weekend as the campus became blanketed in not a just sheet but a thick quilt of the class-stopping white stuff brought by the blizzard.
The storm dropped the second-biggest snowfall in New Hampshire history, according to meteorologist Kevin Skarupa of WMUR-TV. The largest was in 1888, with an average 27.3 inches of snowfall throughout the state.
Official measurements from the town of Durham indicate that 22 inches fell. Winds during the storm were reported to have reached over 50 mph.
Executive Director of Public Safety Paul Dean said he knew the storm was going to have a significant impact on the campus thanks to the National Weather Service. “The info was pretty solid,” he said.
When the snow did hit, there were no complications, as mostly everyone heeded the warnings to stay off the roads.
Labor Ready, a company that provides temporary employment, coordinated with the university to bring volunteers to campus who shoveled the snow from all the walkways, staircases and ramps.
“UNH facilities did an amazing job clearing off all that snow,” Dean said. “It couldn’t have gone any better.”
While no power outages occurred, the campus came to a snail crawl as students began to dig out their cars, venture to friends’ dorms, and, of course, sled down Library Hill after the storm had passed.
One of those students was Jake Moyer, a sophomore. On Saturday night, he and his friends, equipped with newly-bought sleds, headed over to the hill.
“We did a pretty good job of roughing it out,” Moyer said.
There, he witnessed a group of girls sledding on cardboard boxes.
“It actually works,” he said. “They didn’t go as far or as fast, but it worked.”
Two students used the infamous dining hall trays to sled.
“They were going down on their stomachs like penguins,” Moyer said.
Junior Alicia Salafia said she slipped and slid just as much while traveling from one dorm to the other.
“We were going back to Hetzel from the Mills,” she said. “I tried to run in the snow, but I just fell. I hit a slippery patch and I just went down.”
Hetzel resident Robyn Levine works for UNH Dining Services at Holloway Commons. She ended up picking up extra shifts to help with those who had called out due to the storm. But even she had trouble getting to the MUB one day.
“I walked towards Main Street sidewalk and the snow was still up to my, like, leg… and I could not walk and I was really stressed out,” she said.
Holloway Commons had many of its employees stay in hotels Friday night in order to make it back the next day. Some worked up to 14-hour shifts.
Sophomore Morgan Palmer spent his Saturday night DJing for WUNH from 3 to 6 p.m. But, like many on campus, he did venture out afterwards. He was surprised by how many students toughed it out and walked up and over mounds of snow.
“The show goes on,” he said.
Off-campus residents spent much of their time digging themselves out, or helping others dig out.
Marisa Abrahams resides in Newmarket and works for the hospital there. The ambulance she worked with had to call in for its own rescue over the weekend. When responding to medical calls, her team was unable to take stretchers to rescues and had to have the fire engine come and help.
“It (the fire engine) had to dig the walkways to the houses so we could get the stretcher to get the people,” she said.
Students such as Dover resident John DeGennaro found despair in digging out their cars. Snow drifts left his car almost completely buried and he was left unearthing — or, rather, snowing — it.
“I had to shovel … for a total of an hour and a half,” he said.
Abrahams had tried to stock up on food at the local Market Basket but decided against it once he witnessed the mob of people trying to buy food.
“There were two groups of people,” she said. “The people buying essentials, and the people buying beer.”
Regardless of students’ choices on how to tackle Nemo, the campus has dug itself out and continued on.
But Monday morning, students’ hopes rose again when snow began to fall thickly, leaving an inch or so on top of the already deep drifts.
“I’m hoping for the text… for curtailed operations,” Abrahams said. “Tomorrow is a busy day.”
But by midday, temperatures rose significantly enough to cause the precipitation to change to rain. According to Skarupa, temperatures are expected to stay in the mid-to-upper 30s for the entirety of the week. In the extended forecast, a new storm looks to be in the works for late next week.