Charles Nailen/The Hoya Georgetown student Aleksandra Trpkovska (COL ’06) enjoys the massive snowfall by sledding down the hill between Dahlgren Chapel and Village C West on Monday afternoon.

A snowstorm that dumped over 16 inches of snow in two days buried Georgetown and the Washington, D.C. area in the worst storm the region has seen in seven years and the sixth-heaviest recorded snowfall in the district.

Most area roads remained blocked through Tuesday, making transportation difficult, and both Baltimore Washington International and Reagan National airports remained closed through Tuesday. Dulles International Airport operated out of only one runway throughout the storm, stranding students who had left for the holiday weekend.

While the snowstorm may have kept students indoors, the university’s facilities crew caught little respite from the storm that left one inch of accumulation every hour.

“Several of our facilities staff slept on cots between shifts to plow and shovel so they would not risk being unable to return to the campus,” Karen Frank, vice president for Facilities and Student Housing, said.

Frank said that Facilities Management’s regular monitoring of weather forecasts gave enough warning in order to keep addition crew on site and on call.

“The particular challenge was keeping up with the volume of snow and finding a place to put it,” she said. “We had several pieces of equipment break down but were able to supplement [it] with equipment and operators furnished by two of our construction contractors.”

Forty- and 50-degree temperatures on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday aided the crews’s task clearing walkways, parking lots and roads.

Increased melting of the snow could lead to potential flooding. “Now we will have to pay particular attention to thawing,” Frank added.

Due to transportation and safety concerns, University Provost James O’Donnell decided to cancel classes Tuesday, giving students a four-day weekend. “Georgetown streets near campus were just not good and looked like they needed today [Tuesday] to get to where we could ask people to use them,” he said. “Given how many faculty and staff live a distance away, the decision was reached to call the closure.”

O’Donnell added that the closure of the federal government, the continuing state of emergency and the general paralysis of campus due to the storm also contributed to the decision to cancel classes. “Our facilities people were just heroic all weekend but were barely keeping

up and needed a break,” he said.

With streets west of Wisconsin Avenue and north of M Street still covered with snow Tuesday evening, the university announced a policy of “liberal leave” for Wednesday.

Although the university may have cancelled classes due to treacherous travel conditions, that did not prevent students stranded on campus from enjoying the break, playing in the snow or staying inside to watch movies.

The 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday shift at Movie Mayhem, which normally brings in about $10, yielded a profit of $200 on Sunday, ovie Mayhem employee Chas Dorman (COL ’04) said. “When I went to open there were people sitting outside waiting for me,” he said.

Vital Vittles also felt the effects of the President’s Day snowstorm.

“What sandwiches we had left sold out really quickly, as did our frozen food and staple products,” Kelsey Shannon (COL ’04), president of The Corp, said. “Of course, the snowstorm also impeded our vendor’s ability to get products here, which meant our shelves (especially Monday and Tuesday) were a lot emptier than we would have liked. Many people, apparently stranded in the university area, also purchased a lot of essentials, like toothbrushes and deodorant.”

Beer and cups were among the first items to sell out on Sunday at Wisemiller’s Deli on 36th Street. By Monday evening, the kitchen had also sold out of its popular Chicken Madness sandwiches.

The Georgetown men’s basketball game against Pittsburgh at CI Center was postponed until Tuesday evening.

Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia all declared states of emergency Sunday in order to become eligible for federal relief. Several Maryland counties banned vehicles from using roadways in non-emergency situations, lifting the ban early Monday morning.

Still, Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich (R) asked people not to use the roadways unless necessary. “Fight the urge,” he said. “Play in the snow, hang out in the neighborhood, but please don’t go out on the roads today.”

Metro ran every half-hour during the squall, gradually resuming a regular schedule by the end of Wednesday.

Washington, D.C., Mayor Anthony Williams, who cut short a vacation in Puerto Rico to return to the city Sunday evening, asked sports utility vehicle owners to help ambulance crews transport the ill, while Leslie Hotaling, director of the D.C. Dept. of Public Works, asked residents to shovel their sidewalks. The inability of the city to dig out of previous storms, under former mayor Marion Barry, often subjected the city to national ridicule.

The storm, which unloaded as many as 49 inches of snow in northwest Maryland, began in the Appalachian states of Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia, moving east on Saturday and then north on Sunday, to eventually paralyze much of the East Coast.

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