There are signs of spring everywhere — it’s just that earlier this week, they were covered up by a thick blanket of wet snow.
Moisture-sopped snowflakes — not May baskets — ushered in the month of May late Sunday and early Monday.
Just over 5 inches of heavy snow fell between 10 p.m. Sunday and daybreak Monday. The hard-to-move snow, which was already melting about the time most people were rising Monday, made travel conditions sloppy and slow. Tracy Public Schools initially announced that classes would be two hours late, before deciding not to open at all.
The snow blanketed early emerging plants and budding leaves, but quickly melted as temperatures reached the 40s Monday afternoon, and 61 degrees Tuesday. Snow-cover in open areas had disappeared by Tuesday afternoon.
The unusual May snowstorm was Lyon County’s second in five years. A May 2, 2013 snowstorm dumped close to a foot of snow in the area.
May snow makes for tough school closing call
By Per Peterson
Tracy Area Public Schools Supt. Chad Anderson called it the “perfect storm.”
Pun subconsciously intended.
Sunday night’s and Monday morning’s significant snow fall threw many in the area for a loop. While everyone knew snow was on its way, it was hard to predict what kind of impact it would have. As it turns out, the snow was plentiful and its moisture content made it of the very wet and ver yheavy variety. These factors, along with the timing of the snow, made for quite an interesting May Day morning for Anderson.
“It was unique for many reasons,” he said. “One of the things that made it more challenging was we had that heavy, wet snow and the plows weren’t out on the back county roads. I’m not at all criticizing the plows because it was May 1st, so I understand that, but in talking with the drivers, they we’re really struggling and the parents were saying, ‘We just can’t get out of our driveway or get to the corner.”
For the first time this school year, parents on Monday were given the option of keeping their children home if they didn’t think they could get them to school after they were notified shortly after 8 a.m. that buses couldn’t get to the rural homes. Parents were notified shortly after 6 a.m. of the decision to push school back two hours and then again when they were told they could make the decision to keep their child(ren) home if they couldn’t drive them to school. It would’ve been an excused absence for the students. This decision fits with Anderson’s guidelines of how he makes his winter-related decisions. He makes it clear to all families that if parents doesn’t feel it is safe for their child(ren) to attend school they have the right to keep them home, as long as they notify the school in a timely manner.
“I thought, maybe if I can get the buses down the main roads — get the town kids in Balaton, Garvin, Currie, Amiret and Tracy — we could do that, and if the other families can’t make it, they can’t make it,” Anderson said.
School was closed at 8:29 a.m.
Anderson said he has to send his buses out by 6 a.m. to stay on schedule, and at that time many roads had yet to be cleared off.
“My No. 1 concern is the safety of the kids, but I’m also concerned about the other drivers on the roads,” said Anderson. “And we have young children driving — they’re not as experienced. I heard of a couple accidents in other places around Minnesota.”
Anderson said the teachers will use this “snow day” as a professional development day on May 31. The school year will still end on Friday, May 26; that won’t change. Anderson said it doesn’t make academic sense to bring the students back the day after Memorial Day. And, he said, having the staff return for a professional development day will meet their contractual requirements.