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Feb. 3, 2011

MSU suspends classes for only 5th time due to weather

EAST LANSING, Mich. — For only the fifth time in its history, winter weather forced Michigan State University to suspend classes due to blizzard conditions.

MSU suspended classes for Feb. 2; the university’s critical functions were maintained, while electronic services and business operations were supported remotely. Classes and normal operations resumed Feb. 3.

In what the National Weather Service called “a top 10 storm” for Michigan, blizzard conditions brought about a foot of snow to mid-Michigan, along with high winds and frigid temperatures, creating dangerous wind chills and hazardous travel conditions.

The university had only closed or canceled classes four other times:

  • Jan. 27, 1967: After a snowfall of 26 inches, the university closed for the first time in its history.
  • April 3, 1975: A freak snowstorm dumped 15 inches of wet snow that came down so quickly, roads and walks were impassable. As this was in April, many people weren’t prepared to deal with snow. The snowfall subsequently led to one of the biggest floods in mid-Michigan history two weeks later.
  • Jan. 26-27, 1978: A 24-inch snowfall closed the university for two days.
  • Jan. 19, 1994: Classes were suspended due to cold weather (18 degrees below zero; wind chill, 51 degrees below zero), the second coldest temperature recorded this century. The university remained open.


Michigan State University has been working to advance the common good in uncommon ways for more than 150 years. One of the top research universities in the world, MSU focuses its vast resources on creating solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges, while providing life-changing opportunities to a diverse and inclusive academic community through more than 200 programs of study in 17 degree-granting colleges.