The effects of Winter Storm Nemo are expected to be felt across central Michigan and the entire region, potentially causing problems for Central Michigan University students and faculty.
Isabella County is one of 35 counties in Michigan under a winter storm warning that ends Friday morning, with predictions of 5 to 8 inches of snow accumulating overnight and into the morning, according to The Weather Channel.
While students and faculty members will avoid the snow-covered roads until they’re forced to travel, CMU Facilities Management is stepping up its snow removal through Friday.
Manager of Landscape Operations Manager Matt Weaver said protocol they follow is similar to a light snowfall, but with the addition of more workers and earlier hours.
“Typically, we’re doing the same setup when we get a couple of inches as we do for a bigger storm,” Weaver said. “It just ranks up with more folks coming in earlier. When we have storms in the day, it’s a little tougher on us, but my crew does a great job.”
Weaver’s crew has two of its 15 groundskeepers working from noon until 8:30 p.m. Thursday to monitor parking lots, sidewalks and roadways.
East Campus Drive and West Campus Drive are within the boundaries of FM, but Preston Street, Franklin, Washington and Bellows streets are maintained by city plows.
Broomfield Road south of campus is Isabella County’s responsibility.
“We’re usually the first ones out on East Campus and West Campus, but then the city and county aren’t that far behind,” Weaver said.
Starting at 9 or 10 p.m., a crew comes in to clear commuter lots, sidewalks and faculty lots for the next day’s classes.
“Most important is getting the commuter lots, sidewalks, handicap parking spaces and entrances open for folks,” Weaver said. “We clear critical paths first, which are relating to handicap parking spaces and door entries. Then, we go back and hit those secondary sidewalks.”
Weaver said big storms only allow for critical paths to be cleared initially, with secondary sidewalks receiving attention throughout the day after the storm.
“It just depends when it hits in the morning hours,” he said. “I’ve called folks in early, and it works out great, but it’s really when that snow hits between 4:30 and 5:30 a.m. that it’s kind of hard.”
Weaver said the decision to close campus goes through a loop of people including CMU Police Chief Bill Yeagley and Vice President of FM Steve Lawrence.
“Steve Lawrence will talk to me, but there’s a protocol that follows our recommendation,” Weaver said. “Snow removal on campus is very important to us for the safety and liability of everyone here.”
CMU will send out emails to alert students in the event of a campus closing.
Fremont senior Abi Haggart said she is worried about the storm, and, despite living on University Street just north of campus, she plans to give herself an hour to get to her 10 a.m. Friday class in Moore Hall.
“It’s more than a little terrifying,” Haggart said. “I’ve checked multiple news sites for their weather forecasts, and I’ve looked at a handful of radar maps. Nothing I saw was comforting.”
Hartland senior Mike Bryant said he’s questioning the severity of this forecasted storm because of faulty reports he saw Wednesday night.
“(It said all over the Internet) we were supposed to get at least 10 inches (Wednesday night), and we ended up getting maybe three inches,” Bryant said. “I know we’re going to get snow, but I’m starting to think they’re exaggerating this storm into something way bigger than it’s going to be.”