A record-breaking snowfall saw Binghamton University cancel in-person classes on Tuesday, with power outages also reported across Broome County.
Beginning Monday night and continuing into early Tuesday morning, Broome County saw over a foot of snowfall. On Tuesday morning, Broome County Executive Jason Garnar had declared a state of emergency, as well a county-wide travel ban with the exception of work-related travel, due to widespread power outages and downing of trees.
According to New York State Electric & Gas (NYSEG), the Southern Tier faced over 100,000 power outages as a result of the storm, with 50,000 occurring in the Binghamton area. While the University had canceled in-person classes on Tuesday, classes resumed on Wednesday, with Garnar’s travel ban also lifted on Tuesday evening.
One student, Kyle Fahey, an off-campus resident and a junior majoring in computer engineering, had lost power in their apartment in Twin River Commons. Fahey said they had missed their 9:40 a.m. class on Wednesday, with their apartment having regained power at noon.
“My phone was at like 10 percent,” Fahey said. “My laptop wasn’t charged so I couldn’t take notes on anything, no hot running water, so I couldn’t take a shower — or I couldn’t take a comfortable shower. I would not be in a state where I’d be comfortable going to class in the state the way that I was.”
Some professors had also reported losing power and facing difficulty coming to class as a result of the storm. According to Ryan Yarosh, senior director of media and public relations, professors have been asked to respond accordingly to the situation.
“The provost has asked all instructors to exercise flexibility as many work through this,” Yarosh wrote in an email.
Over two days, the snowfall in Binghamton reached 14.2 inches, according to the National Weather Service, exceeding the previous two-day April snowfall record of 13.6 inches. As of Wednesday morning, 6,100 NYSEG customers were without power in Binghamton, according to a tweet from Binghamton Mayor Jared Kraham. On Tuesday, Kraham had also tweeted that 60 streets in Binghamton were blocked or partially blocked by downed trees.
Another student, Matt Kreher, an off-campus resident and a junior majoring in environmental studies, said he was still without power, having lost power since early Tuesday morning. Kreher said he was working on his schoolwork on campus.
“The classes part is not as big of an issue because I feel like I’m going to be on campus no matter what,” Kreher said. ”There are a lot of projects and things due this week throughout all of my classes — I don’t know if that’s a thing University-wide, I haven’t seen a lot of extensions or things with that. But it’s a little bit harder to focus on that, along with everything else happening at home and not being able to have a home base.”
On Tuesday evening, Garnar had lifted the travel ban and adjusted it to a travel advisory. Garnar warned residents against unnecessary travel on Facebook.
“While crews continue working to remove trees and downed power lines, unnecessary travel is still strongly discouraged,” Garnar wrote. “If you need to be out, please use caution as workers continue their efforts to clear the roads.”
As of Wednesday afternoon, 57,000 power outages remained in the Southern Tier, according to pressconnects.com, with NYSEG expecting power to be 95 percent restored by 11:30 p.m. on Friday.
Kreher said he appreciated having classes canceled on Tuesday, and hoped the situation would soon improve.
“I think as students we’re a lot luckier than other people in the area,” Kreher said. “We have a place to go to that’s warm, that can provide food. Obviously it’s not ideal, but I think there’s a lot of people around us that are a lot less fortunate.”