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Start of Term Hampered by Record Snowfall

A snowy view 
of dorms from the Community Center       ON THE weekend of February 11-13 just three days into the new semester, Mussoorie received record snowfall; according to The Times of India, it was the heaviest snowfall since 1973. Landour was the hardest hit, receiving from one to four feet depending on the elevation. While most of Mussoorie's electrical and phone lines were disrupted for a week, Woodstock's outside services were not fully restored for over two weeks.

     The school administration set up an emergency team which worked around the clock to ensure the safety and care of the students, staff, and wider community. The school generator provided limited power to the campus arid pumped water from Midlands stream. Students celebrated the closure of school on Friday and enjoyed the opportunity to play in the snow while their movements were restricted to avoid emergencies.

     Once the snow began to melt, the extent of the damage became visible. On the Woodstock campus alone 137 trees were lost. Many oaks had large limbs or their entire top snapped off like twigs. Paths and roads were blocked by treefall, and many phone and power poles and lines were dowry. Between school arid South Hill, five trees blocked Tehri Road. Vehicular traffic was 
stopped for over a week on Tehri Road

     The following weeks saw frenzied efforts to recover from the storm. Paths and roads were cleared, and damaged guttering removed. Over 50,000 kgs. of wood debris was [++Page 3] collected on campus, while many branches still dangle precariously overhead. Power poles and lines were repaired, Tough much work is still to be done.

     Continued freezing temperatures and lack of power in staff homes for over two weeks posed quite a challenge to the body and spirit. Stomach ailments and flus were epidemic. Several cases of pneumonia were reported, including John Aurora, husband of Crena Aurora in the Alumni Office, who passed away on February 22nd in hospital in Dehra Dun. Those who experienced the Storm of 2000 are particularly thankful for the arrival of Spring.

T.Z. Chu, Class of 52 visited in mid-March for the Board meetings. He writes:
     We read about the awful mid-February snowstorm and the loss of electrical power and water for staff housing for as long as three weeks. Well, whatever we may have read, they were no exaggerations. I was amazed to see large tree branches literally tom off We trunks and power poles snapped in half like broken matchsticks. It was a miracle that there were only a few injuries. Many potential hazards remained as broken tree branches hovered over the pathways. Ironically, one is not permitted to cut down these broken trees or branches, even if they pose bodily danger, without explicit permission for each tree from the Forestry Department.

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