8 inches of snow expected

No cancellations for classes at Ball State University were announced as of Monday evening, but students' plans for a possible snow day were already brewing.

Sophomore landscape architecture student Corri Greschaw is from Michigan, where snow storms are more common. For Greschaw, snowball fights and sledding are among the things she would do.

"I like snow; it makes me feel at home," she said.

Kevin Kenyon, associate vice president of Facilities Planning & Management, said the criteria for closing Ball State depends whether emergency exits and parking lots are clean by the time classes start.

"Unless it's really impossible for us to clean these areas, then we don't close the school," he said.

By later today, a winter storm headed toward Central Indiana with rapid wind gusts could drop as much as 9 inches of snow.

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning Monday for Central Indiana, saying strong low pressure moving into the area would produce the heaviest snow in northern counties of the region.

Strong winds will create drifting snow and roads will become slick, which will make commuting difficult throughout the day, according to the weather service.

Ball State grounds department plans to start clearing parking lots and sidewalks on campus this morning, Associate Vice President for Marketing and Communications Tony Proudfoot said.

As of Monday night, Ball State had not planned to cancel classes. Proudfoot said an estimate of how much snow is to be cleared before 8 a.m. will determine whether classes are canceled or not.

"We don't want to make it an inconvenience for students," he said. "But our job is to deliver education, and we'll continue doing it if there is any way to do so."

Although Ball State facilites expect 6 to 9 inches of snow throughout the night and day, facilities will go through their regular routine, Kenyon said.

"We're not planning to do anything exceptional," he said. "Crew members will go off at 4 a.m., cleaning roads and sidewalks."

Kenyon said his main concern was how the larger amounts of blowing snow would affect cleaning Tuesday night.

"It's hard to predict an impact for Wednesday morning," he said. "There's nothing we can do to prepare us more at this time."

Ball State University canceled classes Jan. 28, 2009, after the amount of snow falling increased rapidly before classes at 8 a.m.

Proudfoot said last year facilities did not expect the sudden increase of snow.

"We got dumped on right before classes started," he said. "It looked like would be able to keep up with the snow, but then it came in a fashion that was contradictory to what was predicted, based on the information at the time."

Another snow storm occurred in 2007, when about 11 inches covered the campus streets and parking lots.

"It was like a zoo," Kenyon said.

For sophomore nursing major Janelle Wertz, a snow cancellation would mean more sleep hours for her.

"I hate snow," she said. "I actually think it's really annoying."

The weather service said the snow would likely continue through Tuesday night.

"Significant blowing and drifting snow will be a concern Tuesday night and Wednesday with wind gusts around 35 mph possible," it said.

The weather service recommends commuters keep an extra flashlight, food and water in their vehicles in case of emergency.

Local media reports Monday night listed more than two dozen school delays and cancellations across East Central Indiana even before the snow arrived.


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