Thursday, January 24, Penn State dismissed students at 12:30 p.m. and the faculty at 1 p.m. The university cited that conditions were expected to deteriorate as temperatures drop, creating a safety concern.
However a professor from the Meteorology Department stated that he was surprised by the decision given the forecast. A Weather Advisory was not issued for Thursday and there was a low probability for hazardous weather
“I would argue that it’s a safety based decision partly because of what happened within the past week… we had a flash freeze and it makes things treachorous on sidewalks and roads…. and they were worried about that magnitude event happening again I suspect,” said Bill Syrett, an Assistant Teaching Professor at the PSU Department of Meteorology and Atmostpheric Science.
According to Bill Syrett, PSU usually contacts the Meteorology and Atmospheric Science Department for advice. They did not contact them Thursday. He did say he was certain that the university did check in with some type of weather source, but from a weather standpoint there’s nothing out of the norm to justify the early cancellation.
Bill Syrett says, “Today’s weather is fairly typical of January in Central PA…. not a flash freeze… it’s getting colder, but things are drying out as it gets colder.”
In addition to Penn State letting out early today, all five public schools in Centre County dismissed early citing similar concerns to Penn State.