By Mallory Schlabach, Editor in Chief
Students continue to arrive in Abilene three days after classes officially began as winter weather moved across the nation. During the past week weather delayed travelers and often made driving unsafe.
Many students were stranded in airports or at their homes as a mixture of rain, sleet and snow moved east across New Mexico into Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Missouri and Arkansas. Others attempted to drive in to Abilene on Wednesday despite snowy interstates between Dallas and Abilene.
Tara McKee, sophomore education major from Atlanta, had to delay her trip back to Abilene until Tuesday because of weather conditions in her hometown.
“I was glad when they delayed classes until Wednesday because I couldn’t be here until Wednesday anyway. So it was nice that I wouldn’t miss classes,” she said.
Unfortunately, the snow storm that struck Abilene and most of Texas on Tuesday night created treacherous driving conditions by the time she began to drive to Abilene at 5 a.m. Wednesday from the Dallas airport.
“I probably didn’t drive more than 40 mph to get here today,” she said.
McKee didn’t make it into Abilene until 2 p.m. because of all the car accidents on Interstate 20, and because part of the interstate was closed because tractor-trailers couldn’t make it up or down a hill called Ranger Hill.
“It was scary because I would lose control of the car and swerve off the road even going as slow as I was,” she said. “It probably took close to three hours to go only nine miles point. I was just glad to make it back safe.”
Provost Dwayne VanRheenen announced Sunday evening that the beginning of the spring semester would be delayed until Wednesday, postponing classes for a day. Since then, Dr. Jeff Arrington, acting dean of students, has been updating the ACU Web site to keep students informed of what to do in case they are still stranded outside of Abilene, or what students should do if the weather changes.
In addition to students coming in for the spring semester, the group of students leaving to study abroad in Oxford, England had to delay their trip for a day because buses were unable to travel to Abilene to pick up the students. The group of students, including professors, Drs. Wayne and Mimi Barnard, dean of spiritual formation and dean of residence life education and housing respectively, met at the Big Purple Parking Lot, behind Edwards Residence Hall to leave at 9 a.m. Thursday.
Despite seemingly better weather Thursday, the National Weather Service has issued a severe weather watch for Taylor country Thursday night through Saturday. The NWS has that the weather will transition from rain to sleet to possible snow or ice throughout the weekend, with the possibility of large accumulations.