Eastern prepares for ‘rollercoaster’ winter weather

Since the start of the spring semester, cold winds and consistent snowfall have rocked Eastern’s campus.

Temperatures plummeted to single digits – excluding the negative degree wind chill – Tuesday from the 30s and 40s Eastern received Monday.

Cameron Craig, geographer and climatologist at Eastern, said the temperatures have been inconsistent in the Midwest.

“It is a rollercoaster effect,” Craig said. “The Jetstream is weak, weaker than it should be, and so what happens is it allows cold air to plunge to the south, while at the same time, in other parts of the world, warm air plunges to the north.”

The snow has not been given up either. After receiving three inches of snow on Tuesday, Charleston has had more than 24 inches of snow between November and April, which is the 30 year average for the area, Craig said. He also added this was only the beginning.

“The winter is considered to still be young,” Craig said. “February is like a winter hump.”

This is not necessarily bad, especially for the soil. Craig said the snow has been pretty dry but consistent making sure to keep the moisture in the soil up, which is promising for planting in the spring. Snow melting slowly into the ground is good for the soil as opposed to massive amounts of rain flooding the ground like in 2012.

Luckily, temperatures will rise until Saturday allowing students and faculty to walk between buildings for class or work.

Students were ready for the declining temperatures, however.

Some students were taking appropriate measures to avoid and ward off the weather for long periods of time like Quenton Anderson, senior family and consumer sciences major.

Anderson said he crossed between buildings to stay out of the cold when striding to his classes.

“I cut through Doudna. I cut through the library a couple of times. I usually don’t go moving around that much, especially during the winter,” Anderson said.

He also said he made sure he was moving as fast as he could to limit his time outside.

Building hopping was not the only way to beat the cold according to Kayla Tutor, a special education major. Tutor said she kept a cup of coffee with her to keep her warm.

“This is like my third cup of Starbucks today. It is so cold,” Tutor said.

For students like Dani Weine, a senior recreation administration major, the single digits have not affected her much. Weine said she has always enjoyed the winter and seeing snow on the ground.

“It is not a be deal. I guess people aren’t used to it,” Weine said. “I run outside when it’s this cold.”

The cold might cause more issues than just being cold though. Sheila Baker, the medical director of Health Services, said the weather can and might increase health risks.

She said other than viruses thriving in this climate, issues may arise because people are staying cooped up inside the heated buildings and houses, breathing the same air one who might be sick is breathing.

Students might also encounter ice patches causing falling injuries. Cold exposure is also a danger, especially at night when people might be drinking. She said someone might get lost when coming home, intoxicated, and might endure severe skin and even mental damage from the frigid temperatures.

She added while the temperatures do raise the risk, there has not been a spike in clinic attendance from cold related injuries.

Jarad Jarmon can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]