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Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Campus

Rare cold weather snap extends winter break


An icicle melting in front of Student Center South Wednesday morning.

An icicle melted in front of Student Center South on Wednesday morning. | Michael Slaten/The Cougar

The coldest weather Houston has seen in more than 20 years shut down campus for the start of the spring semester Tuesday and Wednesday.

Temperatures dropped to the low 20s and ice covered roads and bridges throughout the city, limiting travel options. The University announced Monday evening that classes were canceled for Tuesday and canceled Wednesday classes Tuesday afternoon, citing icy road conditions and inclement weather.

High 60s and low 40s are expected this weekend, according to meteorology blog Space City Weather. 

Due to the delayed start to the semester, the University pushed the last day to add a class to Jan. 24, giving students an extra day. The last day to drop a class will not change from Jan. 31. By press time, the University did not announce whether it would require students to make up the canceled classes.

Exploratory studies freshman Brendan Hughes said he spent the extra days of his break relaxing, not stressing over classes. He said his truck was covered in ice, which would have prevented him from coming to campus Wednesday.

“I hope they do the same thing they do with Harvey, where (classes) canceled some things. That was real nice,” Hughes said. “Pushing back things will be nice, but I don’t expect them to do it.”

Changes to the last day to add a class came as a relief to Kiranjot Bhusri, a biochemistry senior, who tweeted at President Renu Khator requesting the change. In a private message, Bhusri said the University never received her transcript, which proves she took a vital prerequisite at community college.

“I have to go in and personally hand it to them to register for a certain spring class,” Bhusri said. “Because it’s been closed, nobody’s problems can be resolved. I hope they (extend the last day to add a class date), but I won’t be surprised if they don’t. Might delay my graduation a semester.”

Bhusri said she hasn’t been able to leave her apartment and only has the bare necessities.

“I like the extra time because this week is usually a waste anyways, but because I’m having an issue this semester, I wish UH would at least be open to limited staff or something to resolve scheduling issues,” she said.

Pipe bursts at residence halls closed the main lobby of Cougar Village 1, and hot water was not available at some Bayou Oaks apartments on Wednesday.

Workers at Cougar Village one worked to vacuum up the flooded main lobby. A sign that read “CAUTION DO NOT ENTER” stood in front of the lobby’s entrance.

METRO buses routes and rails had limited service Tuesday and Wednesday, and HOV/HOT lanes were closed. At 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, all bus services were suspended. Some routes started running again Wednesday.

All dining options except Cougar Woods and Moody Towers Dining Commons were closed Tuesday and Wednesday.

Native Houstonian Lauren Thomas worked as cashier at Moody Towers on Wednesday and said she has never seen it this cold. She usually comes to work riding the METRO buses, but her bus wasn’t running Wednesday. Luckily, a friend gave her a ride to work, but not everyone was able to come in, she said.

“Either some people are going to call in or some people are going to make it work,” Thomas said. “So if you really need your money, you’re gonna go to work.”

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