Capital Region

Frigid temps force districts to consider closures

Some already setting delays with 'life-threatening cold' on the way
Ed Kantz makes his way through the wooded areas off Fehr Avenue on cross country skis Thursday.
Ed Kantz makes his way through the wooded areas off Fehr Avenue on cross country skis Thursday.

A state agency recommends school superintendents consider canceling or delaying school if wind chills reach 25 below. Early Friday morning they have to make that call.

After-school activities were canceled across the region Thursday after a few inches of snow accumulated throughout the day. But the challenge Friday and into the weekend will be the cold; wind chills throughout the day Friday are expected to challenge the minus-25 degree mark.

As of Thursday night, many districts throughout Saratoga County had already announced two-hour delays.

RELATED: School closings, delays
RELATED: Sustained cold crimps propane supply for some
RELATED: It’s still insanely cold — and dangerous — in parts of the Adirondacks
RELATED: ‘Bomb cyclone’ pummels Northeast, whipping East Coast with snow, bitter cold

Brian Montgomery, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said temperatures and winds will make for extremely dangerous conditions Friday and especially Saturday.

“It’s going to be dangerously cold, I don’t know how else to describe it,” he said Thursday evening. “We can’t convey the word enough: Dangerously cold, life-threatening cold is coming up for the next 48 hours.”

Saturday’s frigid forecast was enough that a Nordic skiing meet to be hosted at Gore Mountain was canceled days ahead of time.

“It’s not real common to go on a four-day forecast, but when you are talking about wind chills on the top of a mountain, it’s pretty predictable,” said Ed Dopp, Section II executive director. “Saying it’s going to be a heavy rain in four days is a lot different.”

High temperatures at Gore Mountain on Saturday are forecast for minus-7 degrees and winds nearing 20 mph, according to the ski mountain’s website.

On Thursday, the Schenectady City Mission donated hundreds of hats, gloves and jackets to Schenectady schools. District staff spent the week surveying what students were in need of cold-weather gear.

Schenectady Superintendent Larry Spring said he has canceled school twice due to cold temperatures and that the decision of whether to cancel school weighs on a litany of factors: road conditions, temperatures, whether neighboring districts have canceled, among others.

The cold weather also means extra precautions and earlier mornings for school bus drivers across the region. Drivers come in early to start their buses to warm them up and clear off snow, said Charlie Bruce, a school transportation consultant based in Cohoes.

When temperatures are at their lowest, he said, the importance of running bus routes on time increases. He recommended parents make sure their kids are completely covered and that they wait until right before the bus is expected to arrive or even until they see the bus before letting their kids head out to the stop.

“Everybody’s first and foremost responsibility is safety and security of the kids, without question,” he said. “It’s even more imperative to run on time because kids are standing at the corner, and you don’t want the kids out in the cold one second more than they need to.”

Categories: News, Schenectady County

Leave a Reply