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Winter storm warning hits campus ahead of last home football game

It’s not even Thanksgiving yet, and it’s already looking like a winter wonderland in South Bend, Indiana. 

The tri-campus and the greater St. Joseph County experienced continuous snowfall Wednesday, as the National Weather Service (NWS) declared a winter storm advisory beginning at 3 p.m. The warning will expire around 10 a.m. Thursday morning. 

Between two to six inches of snow could fall overnight, said Jim Andersen, lead forecaster at NWS Northern Indiana.

“It is a wet, heavy type of snow, so you might not be able to notice,” Andersen said. “But, it can create a sloppy mess.” 

Senior director of emergency management Tracy Skibins said although Notre Dame doesn’t close campus very often as a result of inclement weather, the University would do so through both the police department’s social channel and ND Alert systems (text messages and emails).

Another system is expected to move into the region from Thursday until Friday, with another two to six inches of snow possible. As of Wednesday evening, NWS forecasts a 30% chance of snow showers Saturday during Notre Dame football’s home game against Boston College, set to start at 2:30 p.m. 

Over the past couple of days, the Notre Dame Stadium crew has continuously shoveled snow in the Stadium to keep the field and stands clear, Skibins said. But there could still be a danger posed at the game, meaning fans should be extra cautious.

“Even if you shovel all the snow, you’ll still have a chance of slippery surfaces that can cause falls,” Skibins said.

As of Wednesday evening, Skibins said she doesn’t anticipate any restrictions to tailgating lots — also being constantly shoveled leading up to the game — as a result of the snow. Her advice on being careful applies to before and after the game, she said.

Temperatures should remain below freezing with forecasted highs in the upper 20s on Friday and Saturday. Normal highs this time of year are in the upper 40s, Andersen said.

In addition, Notre Dame regularly works with DTN and its weather intelligence services for large-scale events on campus. On Saturday, there will be several on-site meteorologists to monitor the weather, Skibins said.

With lots of fans en route and anticipation building for the final home game of the season, Andersen suggests bundling up.

“It definitely has a chance of being slippery walking around and could be breezy, making it feel colder,” Andersen said. “People are definitely going to want hats, gloves and the like to stay warm if they’re outside a long time Saturday.”

Skibins added that people driving to campus should bring extra blankets, batteries and snow shovels. To stay safe, she also recommends avoiding caffeinated and alcoholic beverages, which can cause body heat to lower rapidly, and prolonged exposure outside.

“Definitely plan the day out if you’re tailgating, so you aren’t outside for too long at a time,” Skibins said.

Safety messages specific to football home games are also communicated on the University’s game day Instagram.

Contact Alysa Guffey at aguffey@nd.edu.

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