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Southwestern Michigan College prepares for snow

Southwestern Michigan College is facing their first winter as “Storm Ready.”

The title was given by the National Weather Services for extreme weather preparedness.

The community college has students living on campus, plus commuters from all over Michiana.

“We have students from northern Indiana, and from many different counties in Michigan,” college president David Mathews said.

The college has weather-watching and communication down to a science.

“It’s a very comprehensive system,” Mathews said.

That system starts with in-house radar, and constant communication.

The college is in contact with road commissions, law enforcement and emergency management through several counties.

“Nobody is in this alone,” Mathews said.

For campus maintenance, seven plow trucks are available, along with plenty of salt and snow-blowers.

When it’s just too dangerous to go outside, let alone get to class, safety alerts are sent out through text messages and all computer screens on campus are taken over with warnings.

“It’s very difficult to predict whether you’re going to be affected by lake effect snow,” Mathews said.

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