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I'd Prefer Philadelphia

WEATHER

By Davis B. Hilder

The latest wave of bad weather--and it was at times literally a wave--began last Friday, with a storm that dumped almost a foot and a half of heavy, wet snow on the Boston area.

It snowed for most of the day and night, while the high winds combined with the dense snow to bring most local traffic to a halt.

Meanwhile, out in the Southwest, another severe storm was brewing, and local weathermen, saying that it looked like this was the winter that would pull out all the stops, forecast even more snow for Sunday night and Monday.

Were they ever fooled. Instead of snow, we got rain, which came close to washing about half of the accumulated snow away. But the snow washed into storm drains and blocked them, creating serious flooding problems all across New England.

To make matters worse for anyone who dared to stray from the overheated confines of a Harvard dorm, freezing cold followed the day of rain, and turned most streets and sidewalks into rough approximations of Watson Rink.

Many of the acts of slipping and sliding with occasional aerial gyrations that innocent bystanders performed on the sidewalks, however, would have earned at least a 9.35 in Olympic diving competition. Others were less graceful.

With the storm, of course, came endless varieties of winter havoc. Beyond snowball fights in the Yard and snowsculptures motivated more by reading period boredom than artistic yearning, the weather forced a bureaucratic scramble for the snowshovels.

Public schools in Boston and most suburbs remained closed all week. But Archie C. Epps III, dean of students, said that Harvard would not bow to cold, snow, rain or even sleet in completing its appointed Reading Period.

The Harvard Police finally put snow tires on their patrol cars, and Cambridge Mayor Alred E. Vellucci estimated that the city's increased snow removal costs could add at least $1 to next year's tax rate.

The only lasting memorial to this week's weather may be found in the Science Center. During the early showing of "The African Queen" Friday night, six panels in the slanted glass roof broke, covering one of the first-floor corridors with glass and melted ice.

The wire-reinforced panels apparently broke when they were hit by chunks of ice falling from the Science Center's main roof.

The damaged panels are now covered with plywood--a scene reminiscent of the John Hancock Building--and various Buildings and Grounds supervisors are arguing among themselves about whether to replace the panels with glass or another, tougher, material.

But don't put your galoshes away. There is more bad weather around the corner. Light snow is predicted for this morning, but the National Weather Service said yesterday that it will merely be a harbinger of another storm, now over the Gulf Coast, that could belt New England with more rain, snow and sleet tonight and tomorrow.

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