Storm affects travel, schools closeSnow, high winds and the mixture of the two caused slippery roads, at least six slide-offs and school cancelations across the area Monday.
Snow, high winds and the mixture of the two caused slippery roads, at least six slide-offs and school cancelations across the area Monday.
Accuweather Meteorologist Tom Kines, said though southwest North Dakota did not see much snowfall (excluding Bowman and Adams counties which received between 6 and 8 inches on Saturday) blowing snow made for poor visibility, snow drifts and slippery road conditions Monday morning.
“Roads were definitely slick and snow covered,” said Highway Patrol Sgt. Dan Haugen. “In places the interstate was down to one lane because of snow drifts and I have reports of six slide-offs, no accidents or injuries though.”
Killdeer, New England, Belfield and the Billings County schools all canceled Monday.
“This is the third time we have had to cancel school this year due to winter storms,” said Killdeer Public School Business Manager Nancy Tuhy.
Tuhy said the school has two storm days built into its calendar, as do most schools, but since they have already used them, the School Board will have to decide how and when Monday’s storm day will be made up.
“I can’t say how many storm days we used last year, but it wasn’t this many,” Tuhy said.
Hettinger and South Heart Public schools began their school day at 10 a.m. Hettinger only ran one of seven its seven buses. And though Dickinson Public Schools and Bowman County School still held classes, no buses went out.
“I am concerned about (storm make up days) this year,” said Linda Paluck, director of school approval and accreditation for the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction. “With the amount of snow we have had and the looming possibility of flooding in the spring I anticipate there may be some requests to the governor to forgive a few days.”
Paluck said the decision of calling off school is a tough one.
“I have heard many stories of sleepless nights,” Paluck said. “Administrators say the question should I or shouldn’t I is not about how are we going to make up the day but more about the safety of the students.”
She added, in most cases schools are able to make up storm days and even have time built into their calendars for such circumstances. “But if the school has exhausted all of its options, then an administrator will send in a request to the governor to forgive those days.”
Paluck said those requests come to her office. She and her colleagues review them and make recommendations to the school on what to do or forward the request to the governor.
“The governor usually approves them,” Paluck said. “The circumstances are beyond the school’s control and they make every effort to make up the days before they come to us for help.”
Kines said winter for North Dakota residents is far from over.
“The good news is I predict the weather will be tranquil until Friday,” Kines said. “The bad news is another front is coming in this weekend accompanied by snow and strong winds.”