NAU students return to class after extended winter break | will it snow in florida

Northern Arizona University (NAU) students returned from their winter break on Thursday, two days later than expected due to a winter storm that brought almost 3 feet of snow to Flagstaff in the past week.

Classes had been canceled both Tuesday and Wednesday, and the Flagstaff campus did not open for its in-person employees until noon on Wednesday.

By Thursday morning, however, the sun was shining and NAU’s roads and sidewalks were mostly clear of snow. Students navigated around icy patches on their way to and from classes, though a few had been canceled or had lighter attendance than usual. 

For some students, the weather meant changes to their travel plans.

Junior Tyla Wright had stayed in her apartment over winter break, so she was already on campus when the storm arrived.

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While the amount of snow was a surprise to her, it didn’t affect her much. One of her friends, however, had her shuttle back to campus canceled because of the snow, leading to a two-day delay.

Wright, headed to her first class of the day around noon on Thursday, said the professor for her other class had said the time would only be used for questions.

“I guess there’s not many people in the first [class],” she said. “Campus is still kind of empty.”

About the same time, senior Krysten de Leon was walking home from her last class of the day. The snow had affected her schedule, too, with a few of her Thursday classes being canceled.

While she hadn’t been expecting the two snow days to be called earlier this week, she said she was “so glad” to hear classes had been canceled on Tuesday and Wednesday. 

“It is absolutely insane out here,” she said. “ … This is definitely the worst I’ve seen it. I haven’t seen the snow piles this big, and with all the snow for the last several days, this is definitely a lot more than I’m used to.”

De Leon, who is from California, returned to campus early to get ahead of the snow.

“I moved in just ahead of time and sat in my room, like sat it out,” she said. “Because I was like, ‘I’m not going out there; it’s too cold for that.'”

She eventually went out to play in the snow with a couple friends who were also from warm climates. They bought a sled, threw snowballs and took pictures.

“We have to take advantage of this because it’s all going to melt away,” she said.

Holly Jackson, a first-year accounting major, said she had driven up the mountain from Sierra Vista early on Saturday to avoid the snow.

“I saw on the weather app, man, it’s about to snow for four days,” she said. “ … I was like, ‘I am not going to hit this snow, I cannot drive in this snow, I have not been anywhere where there is snow,’” she said.

This was Jackson’s first time experiencing snow, she said, and “I love it,” though navigating the ice has been less fun. She spent the weekend inside, talking to her husband who is currently in Florida.

“It’s funny to be like it’s snowing outside, and him being like it’s Florida, it’s hot,” she said.

Snow days have been a rare occurrence in the past for the university. The last time NAU canceled classes due to winter weather was in February 2019, though it had a snow-related delay in February of 2022 and moved to remote learning due to a snowstorm in January of 2021.

NAU President José Luis Cruz Rivera posted a video to social media early Thursday welcoming students back to campus and thanking those who had worked to clean up the campus after the snowfall.

“I also want to thank everyone for their patience and understanding as we have navigated the decision-making processes that not only involve the university, but also our community partners and stakeholders to ensure that the university is being a good partner as we move forward under these more difficult circumstances than usual,” he said.

“ … Here’s to a great, fantastic spring semester. I know that when we look back, it will be one for the history books.”

More about snow policies at NAU can be found at

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