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Frostbite and Frozen Pipe Warnings: University Alerts Students of Incoming Arctic Blast

The University sent out several emails on Thursday warning students about a dangerous arctic blast headed for Boston this weekend.

“The National Weather Service has issued a Wind Chill Warning for the Greater Boston area from 10am Friday to 1pm on Saturday,” said Associate Vice President for Facilities Services Robert Avalle Jr. in one email. “Wind chills of 30-degrees below zero are expected during this timeframe.”

According to the National Weather Service, the risk level of Boston temperatures this weekend are “extreme,” indicating there is a high likelihood of people developing hypothermia and frostbite without proper winter clothing.

Residential Life Facilities sent another email specifically to on-campus residents, explaining how to prepare for the cold. According to the email, students should not open their windows, place any items on their heaters, or turn their heaters off at any point. 

“These types of temperatures don’t occur often in this area, but when they do, can become life threatening in very short periods of time for people unprepared; Frostbite can set in on exposed skin in as little as 15 minutes,” the email reads. 

ResLife also instructed students living in the Mods on how to handle the incoming low temperatures.

“Please make sure your living room sliding doors are closed and latched,” the email reads. “It can be helpful to open the kitchen cabinet doors and the bathroom doors (when not in use) to ensure heat is circulating throughout the entire space.”

Off-campus students also received an email encouraging them to stay inside and wear multiple layers of clothing when leaving the house.

“It is going to be quite cold over the next few days, with sharp wind chills well below zero, so please stay indoors through the end of this dangerous freeze if you can,” the email reads. “If you must go outside, please dress warmly in layers, and wear a hat and gloves, and keep your face covered. Please limit your outdoor exposure as much as possible.”

Meghan Heckelman, LSEHD ’25, said she felt more prepared for the upcoming frigid temperatures after reading the emails from Boston College.

“I think it’s crazy, these temperatures, and I think that it was good that we got those emails from ResLife and—I don’t know if it was maintenance—but a couple departments, we got emails about it and what to do with our rooms so it’s been nice just having that,” Heckelman said.

All of the emails also warned students about their water and heating pipes freezing and included tips to prevent that from happening.

“In anticipation of this frigid weather, please keep heating on in all University areas, ensure that all windows and doors are tightly closed and remain so during the weekend,” Avalle said in his email. “Also, open cabinets to allow warmer air to circulate around pipes, and keep all roll-up doors down and heating on in loading areas.”

Some students are worried about the possibility of frozen pipes and how it could affect them.

“I’m actually extremely worried about the pipes,” Michael Sears, CSOM ’25, said. “I just don’t want to take a cold shower tomorrow, that’s the only thing … but yes, the infrastructure here is terrible, so I’m just hoping for the best.”

Sears added that he thinks BC is handling the arctic blast well by properly preparing students.

“I think they sent out a good message about how to handle what’s coming,” Sears said. “And they said they would increase the workforce or the work staff, so I’m happy about that. So I feel safe, definitely, about what’s coming.”

February 2, 2023