‘Polar’ opposites experience winter’s extremes

Laura Welch

Villanova University attracts students from all over the nation, and not all are accustomed to the winter weather patterns of the Philadelphia area. To our friends from the North, a 40-degree day may mean they have to throw on a sweatshirt quickly before heading to class. In comparison, someone from California is likely to pile on multiple layers before finally zipping up that heavy duty North Face on that same 40-degree day. “My entire closet has definitely changed with the amount of coats, snow shoes and sweatshirts in it,” freshman Megan Cano says. Cano is from Texas, and like other students from warmer states, she is not accustomed to having to dress for the cold. Cano also had never seen snow prior to coming to Villanova. So when flurries began to fall for the first time here this winter, she was understandably excited.”I had definitely been anticipating the snow for a very long time coming,” Cano says. “Everyone knew I was too, so the first time that it snowed, I remember getting about four phone calls telling me that it was snowing outside.”One might expect those from warmer climates to run in fear from the cold, loathe the snow and spend their time daydreaming of the warm home they left. Cano, however, embraces her new, colder environment. “I would love for it to snow more here,” Cano says. “For some reason, even though I’m from Texas, I love the cold and being in the snow.”According to this year’s “The Old Farmer’s Almanac,” Cano’s wish is likely to come true. Famous for its long-term weather predictions, “The Old Farmer’s Almanac” is calling for the second half of February to be the snowiest part of the winter. Well-known Philadelphia meteorologist Glenn “Hurricane” Schwartz predicted back in November that this area would receive 30 to 40 inches of snow before winter is over. Assuming he is correct, February has a lot of catching up to do. While there was barely any snow in December and January, some Villanova students went home to face a completely opposite situation. Freshman Kevin Murphy found himself in the middle of some of the worst snow storms Colorado has ever seen. The blizzard resulted in over 20 inches of snow in one day, with an additional storm following only a few days later. A second and then even a third storm piled on an additional 20 inches. “It started snowing the night I got home to Colorado,” Murphy says. “If I would have left one day later, I would have been stuck at ‘Nova a long time.” Fortunately, Murphy returned home safely just in time. Other college students were not so lucky. Many students at University of Colorado were stranded on campus, missing Christmas with their families. However, Murphy did not escape the effects of the snow completely. “I did get stuck in the mountains during the [second] storm,” Murphy says. “I went through like 50 inches of snow before it was over.” When most students hear the news that white stuff is on its way, only one thing comes to mind: “snow day.” You can almost feel the anticipation buzz through campus as the sky grows into one large gray stratus cloud. But sometimes, snow loses its appeal. “When you hear about a blizzard coming, it’s fun … up until you have to shovel the driveway for the third time and you can’t see your friends,” Murphy says. “It becomes a real hassle, a burden.”After a few days, the fun of the winter weather returned, and Murphy quickly took advantage of the perfect conditions for snowboarding. He and his friends built snow-jumps. Murphy may be accustomed to the winter weather, however, he isn’t the only Villanova student who knows how to make the most of the snow. Cano reminisces on how she spent her first winter wonderland experience. “It was like midnight, and I stayed out until 2 a.m. sledding on plastic sleds down the hill in front of Stanford Hall and throwing my first snowballs,” Cano says. “I dragged nearly all of my friends in my hallway to come out and play in the snow with me.” Still, Cano has not yet experienced that infamous, glorious, legendary rarity that is a “snow day.””My first snow day will definitely be an awesome experience,” Cano says. “I can’t wait to be able to call my friends back home and rub it in their face.”