JJC Staffer Shares Stories Spanning Three Decades of Winter Weather

Rich Rivera, JJC assistant director for Facility Services/Roads and Grounds, has worked in the department for over 36 years. This week, he shares some of his most challenging—and amusing—adventures dealing with winter weather on the Main Campus.

Q: What is the worst winter weather situation you’ve encountered?

A: The worst weather situation was in the winter of 1978-1979. We had record snowfall and record cold temperatures. I can remember the whole month of February plus two more days never even reaching 32 degrees.

Also, I can remember snow drifts up to the top of the doorways and the first level of the exterior stair wells. The worst part was when the winds blew and the snow drifted.

One time, I spent 20 hours on the clock battling snow drifts. We had to man 24-hour shifts just to keep the roadways open. Once, we couldn’t get any closer to the college than the Fire Station on Houbolt Road.

One of our maintenance people had some snowmobiles in the back of his van. We had to ride the snowmobiles in from the Fire Station to get our equipment and dig our way out, including Houbolt Road. One time, we were snowed in and couldn’t get out for two days or so and had to find food to eat in the cafeteria or go hungry.

At that time, my uncle had a house in College Park subdivision across the street. Another coworker and I walked from here to his house just to get something to eat and get warm and catch a little sleep.

Q: Can you share a funniest moment out in the snow on campus?

A: The funniest moment on snow removal was when we had been out several nights in a row and two of the female members of the snow crew just laid down and made snow angels like they did when they were kids just because they were so exhausted.

Q: How much salt does the campus use in a year for snow removal?

A: All of the campuses combined use approximately 150 tons of salt per year.

Q: What’s the most snowfall (total inches) ever on campus and when was it?

A: 1978-1979 was the most total inches of snowfall. It was record-setting, but to be honest I’ve tuned it out over the years so I don’t remember now.

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