How RWU Handles a Blizzard


Emily Dvareckas/The Hawks' Herald

RWU is no stranger to snow storms. Snow accumulation can make it difficult to walk through campus and power outages are possible.

Punxsutawney Phil predicted six more weeks of winter at the beginning of February, and it seems as though he was right. At the end of January, a blizzard dropped around 15 inches of snow onto campus.

Chief of Staff Brian Williams said the National Weather Service (NWS), as well as other sources, dictate how far in advance Roger Williams University and The Emergency Response Team (ERT) prepare for a blizzard like the one that happened in the final days of January.

“Preparation in advance for any snow storm for the university is really the regular information we receive from the National Weather Service and other sources,” said Williams. “Our facilities team does a great job monitoring, and we have LISTSERVS and communications we’re on, and we follow the weather just like students or faculty.”

“We are always making a decision of when to convene our Emergency Response Team.”

The blizzard happening over a weekend provided more time for Williams and the ERT to keep reassessing and readying campus for Monday as well as “getting a handle on road conditions coming to and from campus to make thoughtful decisions about being open for Monday.”

Williams said he expected a significant storm.

“When the major news outlets are talking about ‘Blizzard of 2022’ and ‘Snow-magedon’ you get attention and focus.”

Students might be more concerned about parking bans for inclement weather than the preparation process. In regards to parking bans Williams said, “We are in communication with the town and what the town is thinking, and then that informs how we can communicate to students, especially with students off-campus or living in Almedia that have cars, of any advisories they need to be aware of cars in the community.”

As for the efficiency of this system, Williams said, “I think operation is really smooth with the team of just seeing what’s happening and being able to share information.”

With this amount of snow, the possibility of a power outage is expected. However, Williams explains that this was not a major concern for him, as the snow was fairly light for this level of a blizzard.

“In the grand scheme of, you know, a heavy snow that can weigh down power lines and power outages and other disruptions for the scope of being categorized as a blizzard, I think we fared pretty well as a campus.”