While crowded lecture halls, visiting multiple classes within an hour, and narrowing down a course schedule typically characterize shopping week, the first official week of the semester will face an additional challenge as a blizzard looms over the horizon for huge swaths of the Northeast.
The National Weather Service predicts a “crippling and potentially historic” 20 to 30 inches of snow for the Boston area, with snowfall accumulation at rates from 2 to 4 inches per hour. A blizzard warning will be in effect from 7 p.m. Monday to 1 a.m. Wednesday, and the weather center deemed travel “impossible and life threatening” during this time.
The University’s emergency management team has been monitoring the storm since Saturday, and it is expected that the University will notify affiliates about its plans Monday afternoon, according to University spokesperson Jeff Neal.
Historically, only very substantial weather events have forced the University to curtail any operations. In 1977, former Dean of Students Archie C. Epps III joked that, “Harvard University will close only for an act of God, such as the end of the world.”
The University canceled classes due to snow in 1978 when a blizzard blanketed Boston with 27 inches of snow. More recently, winter storm Nemo in 2013 and Hurricane Sandy in 2012 prompted the University to close several University buildings and cancel work for non-essential University employees.
In a statement, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh said, “Our City has been through blizzards before, and I am confident we are prepared.”
—Staff writer Theodore R. Delwiche can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @trdelwic.