Mpls. snow emergency in effect

A drain is covered by snow near the McNamara Alumni Center on Thursday. According to KSTP, the metro area received around 5 to 9 inches.

Matt Mead

A drain is covered by snow near the McNamara Alumni Center on Thursday. According to KSTP, the metro area received around 5 to 9 inches.

The University of Minnesota canceled classes that meet after 4:40 p.m. Thursday as heavy snow showers dumped 5 to 8 inches of snow on the metro area in the afternoon. Classes are expected to resume as scheduled Friday. Minneapolis and St. Paul have both declared snow emergenies. The Minneapolis snow emergency begins at 9 p.m. on Thursday. Parking rules are different for both cities, so students are advised to check each city’s website for specifics. The decision on whether or not to cancel classes is made by Provost Tom Sullivan and Vice President for University Services Kathleen O’Brien , said University spokesman Daniel Wolter in an e-mailed statement. “The goal was to keep night class students off the roads, which are in dangerous travel conditions,” Wolter said. The University posted an announcement to its website, sent out an e-mail message, a TXT-U alert and a Facebook group message mid-afternoon to alert students. According to University News Service, the cancellation impacted 397 classes and 8,226 students. English sophomore Brandy EricksonâÄôs Spanish class was cancelled. Erickson said she is happy she missed an in-class debate. She planned to use her free time to hang out with friends. Many students who commute to the University said they were worried about making it back home Thursday but were looking for other alternatives. Larissa Miralles , anthropology sophomore, commutes from Woodbury, which normally takes her about 25 minutes. Because of a bad driving experience, Miralles said she was not driving back home Thursday. Other commuter students said they arenâÄôt sure if they would come to school Friday. Chao Vang, a mechanical engineering junior, lives in Maplewood. Vang is glad he is done with midterms, but even âÄúif I had one,âÄù he said, âÄúI would not come [Friday]. It is dangerous to drive.âÄù Though Ker Kue, a child psychology senior, is happy about the cancelation, she is concerned and worried about the makeup work. Kue stood at the front door of Coffman Union waiting for her ride Thursday afternoon. She was disappointed the ride took more than an hour longer than usual. Kati Mohammad-Zadeh, a political science lecturer, had a paper due Thursday in her “Ideas and Ideology” class. “IâÄôm really glad that the school is taking the safety of the students into consideration,” she said, but added her students would still be required to e-mail their papers by class time. There will be no changes to University shuttles throughout the storm, said Mary Sienko , spokeswoman for University Parking and Transportation Services. The University currently runs all of its buses so there would not be any more sent out Thursday, she said. The city, on the other hand, deployed an additional 24 buses to decrease wait times during rush hour traffic, Bob Gibbons, Metro Transit spokesman , said. In snow storms, Metro Transit provides overtime hours to staff extra personnel in its offices, on the streets and in the vehicles, which are running late due to the snow. As of 3:30 p.m. Thursday, only about half of Metro Transit buses were running on time. The average delay of a late bus was around 10 minutes. Gibbons said the delays would increase until 6:30, when rush-hour starts to taper off. âÄúThe buses can only go as fast as the cars they share the road with,âÄù he said. âÄî Emma L. Carew is a senior staff reporter