Sub-zero temperatures and harsh winds welcomed students returning to campus after Winter Vacation. The recent storm, dubbed Grayson, covered campus in almost a foot of snow, bringing with it freezing temperatures and icy paths.
According to news sources including WCVB, the Boston Herald, and CBS News, Andover received 10.2 inches of snow and winds reached speeds of up to 75 miles per hour. These harsh conditions resulted in 22,000 homes losing power across Massachusetts.
The storm, classified as a bomb cyclone, created blizzard-like conditions across campus, making it difficult for both boarders and day students to arrive on campu with low visibility on the roads. Additionally, 3,731 flights were canceled nationwide according to ABC news. Given that most boarding students could get around campus, classes were not interrupted, causing some day students and students on canceled flights to miss the first few days of school. According to masslive.com, 25 school systems in Massachusetts were cancelled.
Puru Sankar ’20, a day student from Windham, N.H., said, “I was late to one of my classes Friday morning because of the conditions of the roads near the friend’s house I stayed at. If I wasn’t able to stay at a friend’s house, I wouldn’t have been able to come to campus.”
The Office of Physical Plant (OPP) and Phillips Academy Public Safety (PAPS) have been working tirelessly to keep campus safe during this time, staying on campus for long periods of time to make sure the paths and buildings are safe for students.
George Robertson, Senior Officer in the Public Safety Office, said “The OPP staff from heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) and plumbing have been here for the last two weeks straight. They’ll get a call in 1:00 in the morning for a heat problem or a broken pipe. They’ve been here all weekend, on campus, to see if any other problems occur. It’s a large campus to take care of and keep an eye on.”
“A lot of what we’ve had to do is get the doors closed because of all the snow and ice. I was out until 1:30 in the morning trying to chip the ice out of the doors to try and get them to secure, which wasn’t any fun. We also had to do extra building checks to make sure things weren’t freezing up. We had to go into the dorms’ basements to check mechanical things and make sure the heat was on,” continued Robertson.
The severe conditions seriously affected New England. According to news sources including CBS news, the Boston Globe, and the Boston Herald, 22 people were reported dead due to exposure related to the storm.
Gigi Glover ’20, a resident of Paul Revere House, said that the heating has been malfunctioning in her dorm. “One of my roommates doesn’t have heating in her room, which poses a problem for her, because it’s really hard for her to be in her room studying or sleeping because she has no heat, and the window is not completely sealed,” said Glover.
Carter Giampietro ’19, a member of the boys hockey team, said that getting to the rink has become more difficult as a result of the storm. “It definitely takes longer to get up to the rink because you have to keep your head down and walk through the snow and wind, and then we also have to put on a couple more layers. I tried sunglasses [to combat the wind] today, and that worked,” said Giampietro.
Although the storm ended Friday afternoon, campus still suffered from frigid temperatures throughout the weekend. In addition, a heating coil blew in Graves Hall Sunday morning that set off the fire alarm.
Frigid temperatures still continue to threaten campus with the dangers of frostbite. Along with chilling winds, frostbite can occur quickly if proper clothing is not worn. Robertson advises that while the storm has passed, students should make sure to continue wearing extra layers and warm clothing.