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Day 2 of snow in Chapel Hill, canceled classes at UNC

Snow cancelled classes again at UNC on Thursday. After sleet and freezing rain fell all Wednesday night, more snow fell on Thursday afternoon.
Snow cancelled classes again at UNC on Thursday. After sleet and freezing rain fell all Wednesday night, more snow fell on Thursday afternoon.

For the second straight day, UNC’s campus was closed by snow.

Snow and freezing rain continued to fall through Thursday afternoon, prompting UNC officials to cancel all Friday classes and close all University offices.

According to an Alert Carolina message, the factors that led to the cancellations included continuing precipitation, treacherous road conditions and a lack of bus service.

UNC Chief of Police Jeff McCracken said in an interview that offices would likely open at 8 a.m. Saturday but officials would do another evaluation Friday.

He said those involved in making the decision to cancel classes include Chancellor Carol Folt, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Jim Dean and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Winston Crisp, as well as grounds officials and Chapel Hill Transit.

“We talked and tried to make a decision based on what the forecast had been,” he said.

McCracken said officials thought snow would arrive at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, which led to the cancellation of classes after 1 p.m. He said if they had known the snow would start at 1 p.m., class cancellations would have been a different story.

McCracken said DPS, Chapel Hill Transit and Triangle Transit helped transport University employees to their cars Wednesday night. He said many employees spent the night in their offices or found housing on campus.

Mike Sachtleben, front desk supervisor at the Carolina Inn, said more than 10 UNC employees are staying at the hotel.

Rick Bradley, associate director of the Department of Housing and Residential Education, said most residence halls have backup generators in case of a power failure.

Bradley also said housing staff have a list of available beds which could be used to house stranded students and employees.

“Any outages would likely be sporadic and accommodations could be made with the empty beds,” he said in an email.

Bradley said the biggest concern was Odum Village Community because its power lines run above ground.

Though most offices will remain closed today, Lenoir and Rams Head Dining Halls will be open Friday, said Carolina Dining Services spokesman Brandon Thomas.

He said on any given day, the two dining halls have a three-day supply of food on hand. He said Rams Head will be open through the weekend.

“It would have to be a massive act of God for Rams Head to not be open,” Thomas said.

Thomas said there were more than 20 dining services employees being housed in local hotels as of Thursday afternoon.

Online buzz

Social media has been buzzing with snow pictures. One photograph of about 10 students pushing a bus up a hill was posted on Facebook Wednesday night and shed light on how the snow is bringing UNC students together.

Sophomore Olivia Robertson, who took the photograph before joining the other students, said she was walking from the Smith Center toward Manning Drive when a bus driver signaled them over to ask for help.

“We had just enough people to kind of get him going, and he was able to back up and turn around,” she said.

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Pushing the heavy vehicle up a hill was no easy task, said sophomore Maggie Creamer.

“It was super heavy,” she said. “We were all trying to find footing because it was really icy, so we just kept slipping because it was hard to brace your feet.

“It was really cool though because it was a UNC bus, and I felt like a hero.”

Game rescheduled

In addition to canceling classes and causing transportation issues, the weather also led to the postponement of the highly anticipated basketball game against Duke.

Allison Hill, president of the Carolina Athletic Association, said officials will try to keep students lined up in the same order for the makeup game Feb. 20.

“We’ll really try to take into account people who came out for the game (Wednesday),” she said.

The game will be rescheduled for 9 p.m. and will be broadcasted by ESPN and the ACC network as originally planned, according to a press release sent out on Thursday.

Hill said students with tickets will still be able to use them.

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