State climatologist predicts
by Chris Myers
Grounds were covered with a blanket of white in an early January
snowfall. To find out the latest about U.Va.s work and
class schedules in the event of inclement weather, call 924-SNOW
or 243-SNOW, or visit U.Va.s Top News Web site at www.virginia.edu/topnews.
By Anne Bromley
live in an icy window when it comes to winter forecasting,
said State Climatologist Patrick J. Michaels.
proximity of the Appalachian Mountains makes it more difficult
to see what weather actually will develop in Central
Virginia, he said. Although computer modeling has improved forecasting
for up to five days pretty reliably, he said it
tends to switch snow to rain when there might be any of four possibilities:
rain, sleet, freezing rain or snow.
far this season, the weather systems have been running colder
than the computer model has projected, he said.
and inclement weather policies
The main objective is to keep the University open and functioning
on a regular schedule. Many operations must be maintained
regardless of weather conditions the Medical Center,
police, heating plant, dining and some research activities,
Leonard W. Sandridge and his staff, in the Office of the
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, makes
decisions on shift modifications and closings. Vice presidents,
deans, directors, faculty members or other employees are
not authorized to make changes in the Universitys
academic or work schedule due to inclement weather. Representatives
of schools and departments who want to cancel or alter schedules
for school- or department-based events should contact Sandridges
office directly at 924-3252.
Supervisors should be flexible in granting appropriate leave
to those who feel unsafe driving to work in bad weather.
U.Va. employees come from a wide geographic area; conditions
can vary over the region. Be aware of child-care and family
problems that result from school closings and other weather-related
theres snow, how to know whether to go to work
are made on regional radio and television stations whenever
it is necessary to modify a work schedule, authorize a grace
period because of transportation problems or adjust the
Medical Centers delivery of outpatient services. U.Va.
officials try to make these decisions at least 21/2 hours
before the first, second and third shifts at 8 a.m., 3:30
p.m. and 11 p.m.
addition, the information is available on the Universitys
inclement weather information telephone lines: 924-SNOW
updates, also see the Top News Web site at www.virginia.
appears well have a very stormy winter, the stormiest since
1996, predicted Michaels, a research associate professor
in environmental sciences. That year, 21 inches fell Jan. 7 and
8, with another 6 inches on Jan. 12, prompting officials to close
the University those three days, although classes were not in
session at the time.
State Climatology Office
stays in close communication with U.Va. so decisions can be made
and workers can get ready.
will tell us what time to get people in before a storm hits,
and hes usually right, said Rich Hopkins, Facilities
Management snow control supervisor.
also gives information to the office of Leonard W. Sandridge,
executive vice president and chief operating officer, when he
and his staff are considering whether to grant a grace period
for travel or to close the University.
Management crews keep U.Va. open by distributing 100 tons of salt
and sand, plus two tons of calcium chloride to de-ice entrances,
steps and roads around Grounds. Those amounts are enough to respond
to one medium-sized snowstorm, Hopkins said, and then they need
to be reordered. Facilities Management has a state contract for
the materials with a higher limit than we ever hope to use,
asked that employees bear with workers as they clear snow. Were
out there trying to make the University as safe as best we can.
the advice he really wishes more people would follow is, Wear