By: Lauren Wolters
Punxsutawney Phil predicted it—another 6 weeks of a cold winter blankets the nation
February has arrived, and it has brought more snow and colder temperatures along with it. Temperatures in Findlay fell to single digits this past weekend. Counting the wind chill, temperatures hovered around 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
The recent snow and ice negatively impacted both the University of Findlay staff and students.
Orion Jones, Director of UF’s Physical Plant, shared via email some of the Physical Plant’s recent challenges.
“My team has been here at 3:30 a.m. and 4 a.m. on multiple days this week,” Jones said. “It is very taxing on them mentally and physically. After snow removal in the morning, we then have to address work order issues throughout the rest of the day which can turn into 12+ hour workdays.”
The physical plant works with Alvada Trucking to clear the snow and ice from UF’s parking lots and sidewalks. Alvada Trucking helps clear the major parking lots including the Davis Street Building and the Koehler Fitness Center, while Physical Plant employees focus on the steps, ramps, and main pathways on UF’s main campus.
“We usually work from the Arch Way at Old Main to the West and delegate areas of responsibility,” Jones stated.
The Physical Plant’s work is far from over as these colder temperatures do not seem to be leaving anytime soon. Eric Elwell, Chief Meteorologist at Spectrum News 1, forecasted the week ahead in an email interview.
“There is no doubting that a cold week is ahead and that the bitter temperatures are likely here to stay for at least the next ten days or more,” Elwell said.
Elwell explained that the cold appears to be settling slowly in Ohio, as Monday and Tuesday afternoon temperatures look to rise back to the 20s.
“But by the end of next week, high temperatures will likely fall to the teens with overnight lows dipping to near zero by Thursday and Friday morning,” Elwell explained. “There are signs that temperatures could dip below zero around Valentine’s weekend, but we are waiting for a bit more details to determine the true nature of that next cold blast. If some of the models are accurate, wind chill readings may fall to near 20 below zero or colder during the nights [and] mornings sometime between Feb. 12 through [Feb.] 14.”
With these lingering cold temperatures, mechanical failures are more likely. Jones explained that there is extra concern for the HVAC systems in unoccupied homes at UF. He plans to schedule more HVAC technicians from UF’s contractual partners to improve the response times.
“With 180 total properties (houses included) it is always difficult to keep up in extreme temps (hot and cold),” Jones said. “Mechanical failures are inevitable, but we do our best to maintain systems, so they don’t fail and react quickly when they do.”
Elwell added that these temperatures are much colder than what is typically expected in early February. He advised Ohioans and UF students to protect themselves.
“I have found that wearing that mask has an added benefit in these cold days here in Ohio,” Elwell said. “They actually help keep your face warm too! Just keep the hat, gloves, and thick socks handy.”
Jones gave his own advice to UF students.
“We can only do so much to mitigate and control Mother Nature’s wrath,” Jones said. “Wear appropriate shoes with traction when traveling. . .take shorter steps and ‘shuffle’ when areas are bad. . .utilize a backpack or bag so your hands can remain free. . .wear gloves to keep your hands out of your pockets as much as possible. . .try and mitigate distractions when walking. . .walking while texting in conditions such as this is DANGEROUS!”