Wednesday, January 19, 2000

More snow expected tonight

Two inches forecast; schools on the lookout

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Another blast of wintry weather is expected to arrive in the Tristate tonight. The storm could drop another 2 inches of snow, possibly hampering commuters and school districts come Thursday morning.

        While Greater Cincinnati received only about an inch of snow by Tuesday morning — less in some areas — some schools delayed or canceled classes. The snow also factored in accidents across Tristate roadways.

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        While most major highways and Cincinnati streets were cleared early, that was not the case for the hilly and curving roads in the region's far-reaching rural areas, said David Feldmann, director of pupil personnel at Campbell County Schools, which closed Tuesday.

        There must be enough space and clear conditions for buses to maneuver on those roads, he said.

        The district canceled classes Tuesday after talking with police and road crews. about street conditions. Their concern was freezing rain that left icy spots on roadways.

        According to the National Weather Service, a low-pressure system is moving toward Greater Cincinnati.

        There is a 30 percent chance of snow this afternoon, meteorologist Greg Tipton said. It should start snowing after dusk, with the chance for snow increasing to about 80 percent by tonight.

        The storm is expected to dump about 2 inches of snow on Cincinnati, Mr. Tipton said.

        The snow should be deeper to the north, with about 4 inches expected east of Dayton, Ohio.

        Hampering conditions will be strong winds, which will blow the accumulating snow. For the second time this week, school districts will put into action their systems for determining whether to cancel classes.

        Before Tristate school buses hit streets during a snowfall, there is a flurry of meetings, inspections and interviews to ensure the safety of students.

        And long before school starts, there are checks with police. Road crews are interviewed for street conditions. School staff inspect problem roadways.

        Many districts seek forecasts from the National Weather Service.

        “Most of the time (the decision) is a no-brainer,” said Linda Oda, spokeswoman for the Kings Local School District. If streets pose a risk to safety, the school will close, she said. The problem is finding out soon enough.

        Kings Local starts evaluating road conditions around 3:30 a.m. and monitors forecasts and traffic throughout the early morning before putting its 40 buses on the streets, Ms. Oda said.

        With tonight's expected storm, the district will be monitoring the weather conditions again.

        “And after we've done all that, we sit down and flip a coin,” joked Boone County Superintendent Bryan Blavatt. Actually, the decision is based on the information as a whole, he said.

        And the district must consider the safety of students, whether they are riding in a school bus or driving themselves to class.

        Cincinnati Public Schools starts evaluating road conditions around 4 a.m., officials said.

        In addition to closing schools, Monday night's storm slowed Tuesday morning rush-hour traffic and played a role in several traffic accidents.

        In Indiana, a Lawrenceburg man died on Interstate 69 near the Delaware/Grant County line Tuesday morning when he lost control of his pickup.

        Jerry A. Purvis, 46, crossed the median and struck a northbound tractor-trailer, state police said. Icy conditions were believed to be a factor.

        The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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