UW-Madison Provost Patrick Farrell has just announced the cancellation of all afternoon and evening classes, effective at 3:30 p.m. Other campus operations -- including recreational, sports, libraries and the student unions -- may continue or remain open, but anyone "planning to attend evening events on campus is encouraged to call ahead to ensure programs are continuing," according to the UW-Madison press release issued Wednesday afternoon.
The announcement also notes the early cessation of Madison Metro bus service, with the last buses scheduled to depart transfer points at about 7 p.m. Metro passengers are advised to expect delays of 15-20 minutes or more, due to hazardous weather and road conditions.
UW-Madison employees are advised to use their own discretion regarding early departures from work, according to the release, which adds that they are required to use holiday, vacation or compensation time to cover their absences.
Employees leaving early, and those unable to reach campus to work their evening shifts, are urged to contact their supervisors; supervisors "are advised to grant approval of all employee-requested leave in this inclement weather situation," as noted in the release.
Cancellation of university classes or events for reasons of weather are extremely rare, with the institution's commitment to staying open through all but the worst storms well-known among students hoping for some official time off.
As noted in another statement issued earlier today, UW classes were last canceled on the afternoon Feb. 6, 2006 due to another snowstorm. Before that, morning classes were canceled on Dec. 3, 1990 by a snowfall much heavier than that hitting Madison today.
Snowdrifts in downtown Madison are already thigh-deep, and events at businesses, schools, and churches are being canceled throughout the region. Details about these and other closings is being provided by WIBA and The Mic, WISC, and WMTV. Nearly all flights this afternoon at Dane County Regional Airport have been canceled, meanwhile.
Ongoing updates on this severe winter storm are being provided by the National Weather Service.