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Wood County was under a Level 3 snow emergency as of press time late yesterday evening following an early morning Level 2 snow emergency that led the University to cancel all classes and nonessential operations.

During a Level 3 emergency all roadways are closed to non-emergency traffic. Essential employees traveling to work may be excused but all other traffic is subject to arrest.

In lieu of the weather, campus maintenance crews worked to fix a failed main water valve affecting the water supply in 16 buildings on the east side of campus.

The break was part of a central water line on campus and caused low or no water pressure in the buildings, including several residence halls, according to Teri Sharp, University director of media relations.

Most water supplies were fixed around noon, Sharp said, but a manual cleaning of all toilets in the buildings had to be completed before water flow was restored.

“Because they were able to isolate the problem, it resulted in low water pressure in other areas,” Sharp said.

For some affected residents, the water loss was manageable.

“It’s a welcome change from a fire drill,” said Nate Demiter, senior, who lives in Harshman.

For others, having to move to other buildings on campus, such as Eppler Complex, to shower was a hassle.

“You can’t really wash your hands or go the bathroom, it’s kind of an inconvenience,” said Colleen Finn, junior who lives in Conklin residence hall.

The University last canceled classes due to weather conditions in January 1999 and canceled a half-day of class in March 2002, according to past BG News articles.

Off-campus, blowing and drifting snow prompted city officials to declare a snow emergency at 7:24 a.m., which will remain in effect until further notice. All vehicles parked on designated streets were to be removed or risk towing and citations. A snow emergency automatically goes into effect if more than two inches of snow fall, said Lori Tretter, city public information officer.

“Roads are hazardous because of the blowing and drifting of snow,” Tretter said. “We advise people to stay off the roads.”

The National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning yesterday afternoon for Bowling Green and surrounding areas, in effect until 7 a.m. Wednesday. There also is a winter storm warning in effect until noon. About 5 to 7 inches of snow was recorded in Wood County as of 8 p.m. yesterday and winds gusting up to 49 mph caused white out conditions, significant drifting of snow and poor visibility, according to Will Kubina, meteorologist with the NWS in Cleveland.

“Although the snow might be winding down, the winds will stay up in the risk range,” Kubina said.

Blizzard warnings are issued for wind gusts 35 mph or higher, he added.

Similar conditions are expected Wednesday. This morning snow totals are expected to measure in at 10 to 12 inches, Kubina said. The last comparable winter storm occurred in December 2004 when 12 to 15 inches of snow fell in northwest Ohio.

Five to 7 inches of snow is expected to fall Wednesday with wind gusts up to 20 to 25 mph, according to the NWS.

But despite severe conditions outside, many students were able to enjoy some extra free time yesterday.

“I think everyone’s been waiting for a day like this all year,” said Jennifer Cole, senior, and custodial staff member at the Union who was scheduled to work even though Union activity was down.

Other students were surprised by the cancellation, especially after wind chills made temperatures last week feel sub-zero.

“I was surprised because it was below 20 below and they didn’t cancel but they canceled classes for this,” said Curtis McKinnon, sophomore.

Catching up on much needed sleep and homework were also items on students’ to do lists.

“I was kind of happy because I could go back to bed and sleep some more,” said Ben McSherry, sophomore, who heard about the announcement over a loud speaker in his residence hall.

Some didn’t find out about the cancellation until they arrived for class.

“I got up pretty early and was in class about a half hour before class started,” said Chris Fair, junior. He and other art students were then notified by a department secretary making rounds through the building.

“I was just glad I had a little more time to study for a test tomorrow,” Fair added.

Even with classes canceled, all essential offices including dining halls remained open yesterday. University law enforcement, public safety offices and snow removal services for parking lots and sidewalks were also operating, Sharp said.

According to the University’s Severe Weather Closing Policy and Procedures, the closure will remain in effect until the beginning of Wednesday’s work day unless a further cancellation is issued.

“They will reassess the weather conditions very early,” Sharp said. “It’s a combination of factors that go into the cancellation of classes, one is road conditions,.”

For continual updates from the University, call the BGSU Emergency Phone Line at 372-SNOW, Fact Line at 372-2445 or check the BGSU home page.

In Focus Editor Dave Herrera contributed to this report.

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