Oct 312011
Authors: Emily Kribs, Libby Williams

Emily Kribs, freshman

As any local university or realtor will be eager to tell you, Colorado boasts about 300 days of sunshine a year. Some basic math indicates this leaves around 65 to 66 days of clouds, rain and, of course, snow.

I used to love precipitation. In fact, I still do, despite the fact it seems to have been trying to change my mind on the matter ever since I’d gotten my driver’s permit just under four years ago.

Rainy days are my favorites, but snow is a close second. When I saw a forecast calling for a round of winter’s claim to fame — yes it’s still fall, but no one cares — I was excited. Sure, I’d made the error of leaving my boots at home to be retrieved on my next visit, but no worries. I wouldn’t be participating in any snowball fights, but I could get by in Converse.

When I got a weirdly punctuated email from Tony Frank on why classes weren’t canceled on Wednesday, I scoffed. This is Colorado. If classes were canceled every time there was snow on the ground, we may as well head home until June.

At this point I shake my head with a small, sad smile, recalling my youthful arrogance. What a fool I was!

Well, OK, it wasn’t that bad. But I wasn’t banking on falling tree branches, or expecting those limbs that survived to shower me with snow every 10 feet. Even as I type this, the tree outside my dorm window is dropping snow so hard and fast that I first thought someone was celebrating Halloween with some fireworks, or perhaps playing the drums.

Also, as it turned out, slogging through snow in Cons sucks. It was, however, mandatory; I’d put a plastic bag over my bike seat, thinking I was oh so clever for planning ahead like that. However, that did not protect my tires, my handlebars or the sidewalks.

The best part, however, was trying to reach my class in Johnson Hall by the Oval. After a man in a garish orange truck instructed me to take a circuitous route and to watch for falling branches, I arrived alive and then endured an hour and a half of geography. Towards the end of the lecture, I received a text stating that classes were canceled after five –– which was great, except that particular class finished at 4:45.

All in all, I wouldn’t put this down as one of my better snowstorms. My sopping wet socks might have had something to do with that. But this can’t happen every time it snows, or there wouldn’t be any trees left on campus, right?

Libby WIlliams, senior

Given the amount of snow we typically see in Colorado, natives seem to have a sort of ego about such weather conditions. Take, for instance, those you see on campus trudging through nine inches of snow and 20 degree temperatures wearing only a sweatshirt. A sopping wet one at that.

Or those who think that growing up in Colorado makes the average pair of Converse more resistant to several inches of precipitation.

I have to admit, I fit into this category. I don’t own snow boots. And I didn’t think I’d need boots for the first snow of the season, anyway.

Maybe Coloradans have evolved to be winter-weather tolerant. In fact, those Converse sneakers did get Emily to and from classes successfully, and my feet are still intact too.

But Mother Nature is cunning. This time, she decided to send a hint to those snow-resistant Colorado natives –– to those of us who don’t dress appropriately for winter weather –– that snow storms can be treacherous.

Enter falling tree branches.

Neither a Denver meteorologist nor Tony Frank could’ve predicted that one. And in my mind, falling tree limbs are more problematic to students trekking across campus than a bit of blowing snow and ice. And even if you were lucky enough to avoid the falling branches, those few remaining, undamaged branches seemed to be scheming as to when to drop a foot of snow right on top of those sweatshirt-wearers.

Thankfully for us, CSU recognized the danger and closed the only place on campus that has trees: the Oval. Not.

EVERYWHERE on campus has trees. Even an area with minimal foliage, the Montfort Quad, was difficult to navigate. Students made paths around the sidewalk laden limbs to get to class.

And then after 5 p.m., when the damage had been done, they decided to close campus. What!? Now, I understand that every time it snows, you can’t cancel school. Especially in Colorado. But there were some extenuating circumstances last Wednesday.

I’ll admit, in comparison to other snowy days I’ve experienced at CSU, driving conditions were good. The actual amount of snowfall was average. Without missiles in the form of tree limbs, this would have been an otherwise normal Colorado storm, and I would have never expected campus to close.

But when I arrived on campus and saw trees missing their well-established branches (we are talking eight to 10-inch diameter limbs, here), it was evident that this storm was abnormal. Mother Nature did make her point on Wednesday.

So Colorado natives and even non-snow dwellers, next storm, make sure to add a bike helmet and shoulder pads to your sweatshirt-converse duo, and attach a little bubble wrap too. If you’re not worried about staying warm and dry, you should at least protect yourself from falling limbs.

 Posted by at 4:43 pm

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