Classes canceled in anticipation of major winter storm

Boston University officials announced Thursday that night classes on the Charles River Campus will be canceled Friday due to a massive winter storm that may dump up to two feet of snow on Boston.

BU spokesman Colin Riley said the decision was made as a safety precaution in anticipation of hazardous conditions.

“From our conversations and monitoring of National Weather Service, federal emergency management and state emergency management, they anticipate a severe storm with blizzard conditions,” he said. “It’s a very prudent move to follow that guidance considering how large the snowfall supposed to be and how high the wind supposed to be.”

On Friday, NWS predicts two weather systems will combine to produce a “major and potentially historic storm for the northeastern U.S.,” according to the NWS website. The storm will begin Friday morning and continue to intensify until it reaches its peak Saturday morning.

The Northeast — including Boston — may see winds gusting up to 75 miles per hour and up to two feet of snowfall, according to the NWS.

“Most important is the size and severity of this storm,” Riley said. “Winter in New England, we expect snow, we work through it and are able to commute through it … [but] if all comes as NWS anticipates, it’s going to be extremely difficult.”

Around 6 p.m. Thursday, the NWS issued a blizzard warning for much of eastern and southern Massachusetts, including Boston.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick urged drivers to stay off roads starting Friday afternoon.

The Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority will suspend all forms of service at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, according to the MBTA website.

Riley said the storm poses a risk to those who need to travel to BU’s campus.

“The people who travel to campus, come to campus in large numbers, we want to reduce that,” he said.

Riley said while classes and other operations being canceled are an inconvenience for some, they are necessary for the safety of the BU community.

“It’s a good decision to close tomorrow and Saturday,” he said. “… Obviously a lot of programs get affected, but all those were weighed against the plus side, which was safety and working cooperatively with our state and federal partners.”

He said students are urged to be safe and take necessary precautions, particularly when walking near Commonwealth Avenue, as road conditions may become dangerous.

However, he said he encourages students to enjoy the snowfall as much as possible.

“Twelve-thousand students, it sounds like at least 12,000 snow angels, a few snow men and maybe some forts being built,” he said. “I hope they enjoy it, I’m sure there are a few people on campus who are not familiar with heavy snowfall. We want everyone to be safe and warm and careful.”

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