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Storm lashes IC

BY MARLEEN LINARES | DECEMBER 09, 2009 7:30 AM

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The first winter storm to hit campus this semester could be one of the worst in the last 10 years, and many UI students wonder if classes will continue the rest of the week.

Officials said weather conditions will be “dangerous” and urged Iowans to limit travel Tuesday night as the winter storm made its way through the area.

“This kind of storm is definitely unusual,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Chris Legrow.

The weather service continually updated the caliber of the storm on Tuesday, raising its ranking from “hazardous” to a blizzard and then to an “extremely dangerous winter storm.”

“Once people get home [Tuesday] night, they should just stay home and ride the storm out,” Legrow said.

Meteorologists estimated at least 6 to 10 inches of snow by the end of the storm, along with winds of more than 30 mph. After the storm passes, temperatures are expected to plummet.



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UI prepares for ‘dangerous storm’

UI spokesman Tom Moore said officials will announce whether classes will be canceled at 6 a.m. today.

He said there are no specific rules for determining if professors should hold classes as scheduled.

“We just always keep the well-being of the students, faculty, and staff in mind,” Moore said.

The last time classes were canceled because of icy winter conditions was in February 2008.

But some students are worried about missing out on the extra in-class studying — many class sessions this week are focused on reviewing for finals.

“It is critical that we have class [Wednesday], said UI junior Mahmoud Siddig. “This week’s classes help because we can get a lot of reviewing done.”

UI officials closed all university buildings at 10 p.m. Tuesday to encourage people to go home and stay there, Moore said.

But with the Main Library shuttering up four hours earlier than its normal 2 a.m. closing time didn’t go over well with some UI students hoping to review for finals.

“It’s pretty frustrating, because you have to find somewhere else to study,” sophomore Christine Moorhead said.

Aside from the inconveniences the storm will bring, she said, she was also worried about the storm itself.

“I’m worried if I have to go outside and the university doesn’t do anything about the weather,” she said. UI officials should keep students in mind, she said.

Other students were concerned about driving in the weather.

“I was hoping to go home [Wednesday], and I have work,” said sophomore Christina Davison, who lives in Cedar Rapids. “I don’t know if I will be able to because of the storm.”

The UI also canceled flu shot clinic for students scheduled for today.

City aims to keep citizens safe

Though UI students were expected to attend night classes, Iowa City schools and other area districts were dismissed two hours early on Tuesday.

Iowa City officials said they hope to keep the streets clean and safe on today despite the inclement weather.

The city declared a snow emergency, set to begin today at 8 a.m. and last until Friday. During a snow emergency, streets that normally permit parking on both sides of the street will be subject to “alternate side of the street” parking. That means that on odd numbered days of the month, parking is permitted only on the odd-numbered side of the street and vice versa.

Iowa City City Councilor Mike O’Donnell said the policy will help city officials prevent unnecessary buildup of snow or ice.

“This is something we’ve needed in the city for a while,” he said. “When an ice pile forms from a car, it’s there all winter.”

If a car is parked on the wrong side of the street during a snow emergency, it could be ticketed and towed.

“I sincerely hope we don’t have any problems,” O’Donnell said. “We don’t want to tow anyone. It’s a huge inconvenience for both parties.”

Iowa City Mayor Regenia Bailey said the weather “seems standard” and noted the real challenge is that this week’s storm is the first of the season.

“It’s winter. It snows,” she said. “As long as people are sensible, there shouldn’t be any concerns.”


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