When extreme weather has hit the Farm

White Plaza snowman
A snowman on White Plaza in 1976. (Photo: Jose Mercado, Stanford News Service)

Though Stanfordites have hailed their alma mater countless times since the song’s composition in 1892, only twice do the heavens seem to have replied, according to the Stanford 125 website.

On Jan. 11, 1950, and April 3, 1999, actual hail hit the normally temperate campus, giving Stanford a chance to demonstrate the resilience with which it greets rare events.

In 1950, the Stanford Daily reported, hail “temporarily stopped educational processes as Farm professors observed a few minutes’ silence while the icy stones battered the tile roofs.”

The 1999 storm knocked out power in the third inning of the Washington State baseball game. It forced players and fans in Sunken Diamond “to watch the umpire for the count on pitches,” the Daily reported, while “a student broadcasting the game on KZSU radio used a telephone for several innings” and “the public address announcer took to a bullhorn to declare the score.”

Slightly less rare is snow, which has dusted the Farm at least five times since Jane and Leland Stanford began building the university campus in 1887. A freak snowfall greeted early building crews on Feb. 5 of that year, only months before the university’s cornerstone was placed in the Quad.

The most recent recorded snowfall was more than 40 years ago, on Feb. 5, 1976.

Read more about Stanford’s occasionally wacky weather on the Stanford 125 website.