Treacherous snow travel

Treacherous snow travel

Adan Mulvaney

From Nov. 30 to Dec. 1, Marquette received over 24 inches of snow, shutting down travel routes and closing classes until noon on Dec. 2. 

The amount of snow caused groundskeeping crews great difficulties in keeping pathways and roads safe for students, as the snow began to drift into areas of traffic, NMU Police Department Sgt. Jon Kovar said.

The high winds caused snow to blow back over areas that had been previously plowed, despite the fact that groundskeeping uses tools such as shovels, snowblowers and plows to clear the walkways and entrances to buildings, and the sand which is placed on sidewalks to prevent ice from making them too slippery and dangerous, Kovar said. 

Though the groundskeeping crew works hard to keep the campus a safe place to travel, the snow creates the danger of travelling to and from campus. Kovar offered advice to those who consider travelling in hazardous conditions.

“Always have an idea of where you are, so when you call the dispatch center you can give them an idea of where you are. Most likely there will be a lot of people in your situation,” Kovar said. “You can try to free yourself, it’s a good idea to have a shovel. You could always call a wrecker service or AAA, there’s always local towing companies that could come and pull you out. But the biggest thing is to always know where you are.”

It is also recommended to consistently check your travel plans before leaving, and make sure that another person is aware of your route being taken in case you are unable to tell them where you are.

“Always be prepared for the worst case scenario. Make sure that you have some extra blankets and clothes in your car, everybody always says to dress in layers but make sure you have extra jackets, blankets, hats, mittens, things like that in your vehicle, especially if you plan on travelling any sort of distance,” Kovar said.

Freshman Spanish education major David Mendez drove seven hours to reach NMU on Sunday Dec. 1, and unfortunately ended up in a car accident. No one was seriously injured.

“We spun around a couple times and got stuck in a highway ditch for 30 minutes. Later in the drive, we got stuck in the U.P. and didn’t get help until three hours later. Also, we were driving next to a lake and the water got really close to us- then we almost ran out of gas in the middle of the U.P,” Mendez said. “I wouldn’t recommend travelling in a blizzard. You’re literally putting your life in danger.”

In addition to travel hazards, snow storms present the danger of exposure to students, Kovar said.

“It depends on the weather,” Kovar explains. “If it’s a below zero windchill, then any exposed skin will be in danger of frostbite within minutes.”

All students are urged to dress in layers and always check the weather conditions before leaving.