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Blizzard of'96 Strikes Harvard

Mail Stops; Some Libraries Close; Dining Hall Menus May Change

By Geoffrey C. Upton

The Blizzard of '96, which shut down the Federal government in Washington, D.C., dumped 30 inches of snow on Philadelphia and closed New York City public schools for two days, blanketed Cambridge with a foot and a half of snow Monday.

The snow closed some libraries on campus and many businesses in Harvard Square, halted the delivery of mail, pushed Cambridge well over its budget for snow removal and may even have affected the menu in Harvard dining halls.

From late Sunday night through Monday night, 18 inches of snow fell in Boston, according to Ron Horwood of the National Weather Service. The storm's track carried it along the Atlantic coastline, keeping the heaviest snows to the south of Boston.

"If the storm had been 100 miles to the north, we would have had a lot more snow here in town," Horwood said.

Several inches of snow were expected to fall today and another storm is predicted for the Boston area for Friday and Saturday, but Horwood said it is too early to predict the track of that storm and snowfall amounts.

Like cities across the region, Cambridge has exceeded its budget for snow removal. The city has spent over $300,000 thus far, said Richard J. Medeiros, director of snow operations, surpassing its $172,000 budget.

Medeiros predicted that by year's end the city will have spent more than $1,000,000 on snow removal.

Calls to the City Manager, who finances snow removal operations, were not returned yesterday.

"We're way over budget, as are most towns," said Ralph E. Dunphy, the city's commissioner of public works. "There are a number of things the city does to fund snow removal, and there are always emergency appropriations."

Students studying for final examinations in Widener Library were asked to leave at 5 p.m. as the library closed five hours early due to the storm. "Clearly student, were here so we made a special effort" to remain open, said Lawrence Dowler, associate librarian for public services. "Since conditions were getting so bad, there was a problem getting security guards," he said.

Lamont, Hilles and Cabot libraries kept their extended reading period hours, Dowler said. Gutman Library was closed all Monday because the Education School was closed.

Dowler said he has not heard any complaints from students about the library closings. "In fact, several faculty members mentioned they were amazed and grateful that we were open at all," he said.

Signs posted in Harvard dining halls yesterday blamed the stormy weather for modifications to the menu.

"Dining Services will do all that it can to maintain our high standards throughout the week, and regret any inconvenience you may experience," the sign read.

Heavy snowfall Monday morning kept businesses from opening and mail from being delivered in Cambridge.

Mail did arrive at the main Cambridge post office in Central Square, but was not delivered due to concerns for the safety of mail carriers and the security of the mail, said Michael Hannon, supervisor of customer services.

The Harvard Square post office closed at 4:30 p.m. instead of 6 p.m. "The decision was made based on the safety of our employees and a lack of business," said Margaret Dimock of the post office.

The Gap on Brattle Street closed at 2:30 p.m. instead of 9 p.m. due to the weather and the lack of customers, said James, a store manager who had the day off. "I know I stayed inside all day long," he said.

The Coop, which closed at 4 p.m. withstood lost business to protect the safety of its employees, said company President Jerry T. Murphy '73. "We like to err on the side of safety in terms of all of the employees getting home safe," he said. Other businesses did not open at all.

The owner of the Crimson Sports Grille decided to keep the bar closed for the day when "it looked bad Monday morning," said manager Matt Kline. "No one was going to be here except for local customers," he said. "The owner didn't want people going out and getting hurt."

At Sage's Market on Church Street, the owner decided to remain open despite the weather, said assistant manager Susan Etlinger. "We thought about closing but [the owner] said 'No way,'" she said.

Customer traffic was somewhat lighter due to the storm, Etlinger said, although the store "got more local people who didn't want to go very far in the storm."

Dunphy, commissioner of public works, said that Cambridge is currently in "great shape," but that the prospect of more snowfall in upcoming weeks is a concern.

"We've about reached our limit," Dunphy said. "If we get another foot on top of this, we start thinking about moving this snow to make room for the next storm." The city moves snow to sites in East and North Cambridge and has been studying dumping snow into the Charles River, he said

Lamont, Hilles and Cabot libraries kept their extended reading period hours, Dowler said. Gutman Library was closed all Monday because the Education School was closed.

Dowler said he has not heard any complaints from students about the library closings. "In fact, several faculty members mentioned they were amazed and grateful that we were open at all," he said.

Signs posted in Harvard dining halls yesterday blamed the stormy weather for modifications to the menu.

"Dining Services will do all that it can to maintain our high standards throughout the week, and regret any inconvenience you may experience," the sign read.

Heavy snowfall Monday morning kept businesses from opening and mail from being delivered in Cambridge.

Mail did arrive at the main Cambridge post office in Central Square, but was not delivered due to concerns for the safety of mail carriers and the security of the mail, said Michael Hannon, supervisor of customer services.

The Harvard Square post office closed at 4:30 p.m. instead of 6 p.m. "The decision was made based on the safety of our employees and a lack of business," said Margaret Dimock of the post office.

The Gap on Brattle Street closed at 2:30 p.m. instead of 9 p.m. due to the weather and the lack of customers, said James, a store manager who had the day off. "I know I stayed inside all day long," he said.

The Coop, which closed at 4 p.m. withstood lost business to protect the safety of its employees, said company President Jerry T. Murphy '73. "We like to err on the side of safety in terms of all of the employees getting home safe," he said. Other businesses did not open at all.

The owner of the Crimson Sports Grille decided to keep the bar closed for the day when "it looked bad Monday morning," said manager Matt Kline. "No one was going to be here except for local customers," he said. "The owner didn't want people going out and getting hurt."

At Sage's Market on Church Street, the owner decided to remain open despite the weather, said assistant manager Susan Etlinger. "We thought about closing but [the owner] said 'No way,'" she said.

Customer traffic was somewhat lighter due to the storm, Etlinger said, although the store "got more local people who didn't want to go very far in the storm."

Dunphy, commissioner of public works, said that Cambridge is currently in "great shape," but that the prospect of more snowfall in upcoming weeks is a concern.

"We've about reached our limit," Dunphy said. "If we get another foot on top of this, we start thinking about moving this snow to make room for the next storm." The city moves snow to sites in East and North Cambridge and has been studying dumping snow into the Charles River, he said

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