The winter storm hitting the UK this week, known as the “Beast from the East,” has led to major disruption in St Andrews, including the cancellation of many lectures and closure of some University buildings, local businesses, and public transportation.
Yesterday, Wednesday 28 February, Fife’s amber weather warning for snow was raised to a red alert at 3pm, meaning there is a risk to life. The alert is in place until 10am today, 1 March, and advises everyone not to travel during this time.
However, after the alert is lifted at 10am, snow is likely to continue in Fife until Sunday evening.
On Wednesday, the Proctor emailed all students on the weather disruption, saying, “The University has urged all staff outwith St Andrews to go home while it is still safe to do so, and not to travel in tomorrow morning. … It is inevitable that some teaching will be affected, as will our services in the Library, Residences and other facilities.”
The Proctor added that information on rescheduled classes would be forthcoming for students.
Though the University did not formally cancel all classes, many individual modules and departments have cancelled class for Thursday.
This is largely in part to many University buildings, including the Buchanan Lecture Theatre and St Salvator’s Quad, being closed altogether.
Additionally, all University libraries closed on Wednesday at 2pm, 12 hours earlier than normal for the Main Library. They have not specified when they will open on Thursday, stating on Facebook, “We will assess conditions tomorrow morning and, if the weather allows, we will reopen at midday.”
The Sports Centre closed Wednesday at 6pm and will open at 8am on Thursday rather than 6:30am, though the only facility open is the gym. They also added on their Facebook page that “closing time will be dependent on weather conditions and subsequent staffing availability.”
For students living in catered University accommodation, Director of Residential Business Services (RBS) Ben Stuart informed students via email that catering may be affected today and tomorrow.
Mr Stuart stated, “Due to the expected severe weather, there maybe disruption to catering within halls today and tomorrow. Please, check with your kitchen staff if you are a catered student regarding any changes to the food service at your hall or any changes to meal times today and tomorrow.”
On Wednesday, some halls, including University Hall and Agnes Blackadder Hall, saw reduced meal times, but the evening meal was not cancelled.
Locally, some local businesses closed early or were closed on Wednesday, including Costa, Hosies, and Vodafone.
Deliveroo, a food delivery service, closed on Wednesday afternoon, with a message for users saying, “In the interest of keeping riders safe, our service is not available at the moment because of bad weather conditions. We’re really sorry about that – we’ll let you know once we’re open again.”
Within Fife, local schools announced closures for Thursday, and buses announced cancellations around 4pm on Wednesday for the rest of the day, leaving some passengers stranded at the wrong stop or within St Andrews.
Some University halls, including Agnes Blackadder Hall, took in some of these families and individuals as it serves as emergency accommodation in such scenarios.
The “Beast from the East” has hit the United Kingdom and Europe, and some cities have seen temperatures as low at -30C.
According to the BBC, at least 10 people have died in the winter storm, and the death toll across Europe could be as high as 24 people.
The weather is predicted to be the coldest week of winter in five years for the UK.