Snow threat prompts school closures

By The Mercury

In what has seemingly become a yearly tradition, area school districts canceled classes Tuesday for a storm that — to many who drove through its morning aftermath — didn’t appear to be that bad.

Bob Shannon, USD 383 superintendent, said the move was anticipatory.

“We’re relying this time on the National Weather Service forecast of a winter storm,” Shannon said.

He said the decision to close was actually made Monday night after the National Weather Service updated its evening forecast at 9 p.m. The forecast at that time included a winter storm warning in effect until 6 p.m. Tuesday.

The warning predicted snow and ice accumulations of up to six inches and freezing drizzle. It also stated that driving conditions could be hazardous and visibilities could be reduced.

Other area school districts — including Wamego, Rock Creek, Riley and Blue Valley — made the same call. What eventually developed was an overnight shift in conditions that instead created a relatively light dusting of snow. There were, however, continued forecasts of bad weather for Tuesday afternoon … right about the time school buses would have been taking students home.

Shannon said there was no hesitation about canceling classes Monday night before waiting to see how bad the storm actually was even though time has been added to the end of the school year three times in the last four years. This year, there are three snow days built into the district’s schedule.

It looks like the district won’t have to burn another snow day tomorrow.

“I’m very confident we’ll have school tomorrow,” Shannon said.

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