Lehigh closed at 1pm on March 2 due to winter weather conditions. Salting and plowing is done across Lehigh's three campuses to ensure student safety. (Sara Boyd/ B&W Staff)

Lehigh responds to extreme winter weather


Lehigh has been closed twice this semester because of snowstorms.

This means cancelled classes, suspended bus services and — in the case of the most recent storm — fallen trees.

Robert Bruneio, the manager of Transportation Services, said that to determine whether it’s unsafe to run buses, Transportation Services works closely with Facilities Services, which works with the Provost’s office to determine the best course of action during an extreme weather event.

Though many factors are taken into consideration, Bruneio said the safety of the community, faculty, staff, students and drivers is paramount.  

Gary Falasca, the director of Facility Services, coordinates snow and ice removal on campus.

Falasca said one contractor completes the salting and plowing on roads and parking lots, while two additional contractors handle walkways and steps on all three campuses. Snow clearing is also completed on weekends, with priority placed on paths to dining halls and libraries.

Even though weather forecasting has advanced, Falasca is sure to closely follow storm forecasts before making any decisions.

“Myself and the Lehigh contractors watch three different weather services constantly, noting when storms are forecast, sometimes as much as a week in advance,” Falasca said.

Falasca and the contractors typically develop a strategy 12-24 hours in advance of the arrival of a storm. Each time there is a storm that may have a significant impact on campus, Falasca said he contacts the Provost’s office by 5:30 a.m. to provide them with an assessment of campus conditions. Together, they decide whether campus can open normally, have a delayed opening or close entirely.

Poor weather conditions do not only affect Lehigh faculty and staff but students, too.

Although students who live on campus do not need to worry about shoveling or salting walkways, some students who live off-campus must figure out how to clear snow on their properties. 

Lauren DiNapoli, ’18, a student who lives off campus, has struggled with recent weather conditions.

DiNapoli said students who live off campus have to shovel their own sidewalks, and it is extremely difficult for them to drive up to campus with so many one-way streets.

“I handled the snow by not leaving my house,” DiNapoli said, “or if I had to, just walking instead of driving.”

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