Groton School cancelled classes Tuesday after a record-setting blizzard blanketed the Circle with about 30 inches of snow. January 27, 2015, according to available records, was only the second snow day in the history of the School.
“It’s the most snow we’ve ever had in one snowstorm here,” said Director of Buildings and Grounds Tim Dumont, whose staff worked long hours to keep pathways clear and safe. The famed Blizzard of ’78 produced 27 inches of snow.
Four plows already were at work at 4 a.m. Tuesday, and about a dozen shovelers joined them two hours later. Several key employees of Buildings and Grounds and the Dining Hall spent the night to ensure they could be on hand as the storm worsened. When a Health Center nurse’s night shift ended, Dumont took her home in an all-wheel-drive School vehicle. Her replacement arrived in her family’s snow-ready truck.
With wind whipping and snow falling fast, snowbanks quickly began to dwarf the snowplows, and Dumont assigned a staff member to move piles of snow with a huge tractor.
The Dining Hall functioned with fewer staff than usual; Director of Culinary Services Jed Coughlin called the 10 who braved the storm “my heroes.” Coughlin had prepared carefully to avoid shortages of both food and staff. “All of our purchasing is based upon close scrutiny of weather forecasts and good communication with our vendors,” he explained. “In this case, we anticipated that we should have four to five days’ worth of dry/frozen goods, and three days of fresh produce and proteins. Anticipating these needs helps us to avoid unnecessary shortages.”
Most of Tuesday morning, the Circle was a tundra-like white-out. But by afternoon, the gusts had dissipated and, for many students, it was time to play. (Check our multimedia page for snow day photos.) While some students built snowmen and frolicked in the drifts, others settled with cocoa in their dorms or headed to the library to study.
Besides a one-hour delay this morning and a few athletic cancellations, School was back to normal today. Groton School had weathered the Blizzard of 2015 with hard work and good cheer.
The biggest blessing, Dumont said, was that cold temperatures had made the snow light, fluffy, and easy to move. “There was no weight to it,” he said. “Heavy, wet snow would have been a much bigger challenge.”
(Photo by Trevor Fry '15)