As inclement weather has continued to fall upon Western Washington and all three University of Washington campuses, UW Tacoma has had at least five days of cancelled and suspended operations. News outlets report that as many as 32,000 Puget Sound Energy and Seattle City Light customers were affected by power outages due to falling trees and branches. Due to the snowstorm, Gov. Inslee marked Western Washington as being in a state of emergency on Feb. 8, urging drivers to go out only when necessary. Icy roads have caused public transportation to adjust their routes due to the snow as many routes faced delays as long as half an hour — some routes even had to cancel their routes altogether.
With all of this snow, several planned events, meetings, seminars and presentations around campus have been postponed or cancelled. This has included this month’s Grit City Think & Drink, a discussion of the Dakota Access pipeline, and the Office of Global Affairs’ “How to fund your study abroad” information session. Another big event that was cancelled due to the snow was this year’s Huskies on the Hill, where students from all three UW campuses travel to Olympia and lobby on behalf of higher education.
Many areas have received record amounts of snowfall. The Seattle area has received roughly 20 inches so far this month, and at least ten inches in the Tacoma area. This amount of snowfall has not been seen in the Seattle-Tacoma area for the month of February since 1923. During that year, 17.4 inches fell, the now-former second highest recorded snowfall amount in Seattle.
After the first snowstorm on Feb. 6 had dissipated and the UW campuses reopened, officers responded to a report that a woman had slipped and sustained a serious head injury, and later passed away. According to medical examiner reports, the UW Seattle sophomore 19-year-old Hayley Smith suffered a blood clot in her lung, and had not passed away due to slipping as was originally reported.
“We are all in shock and sadness over the death of a UW student after a tragic fall on the Seattle campus yesterday,” UW President Ana Mari Cauce stated in the mass email sent out Feb. 7 to all UW students, staff and faculty. “I have spoken with the student’s father and my heart is with her grieving family and friends and all who knew her. This was a tragic accident, one that is felt very personally by me and all the UW staff who work to keep our campus safe, every day.” Even as the snow is melting away, UW officials are encouraging students to stay cautious of freezing temperatures, additional snow, etc.
The Tacoma Ledger would like to offer our condolences to the family of our fellow UW student. When an event as devastating as this occurs on any campus, everyone in the UW community is affected.