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Students dismissed early in snowy weather

By Jim Conrad, jconrad@wcyb.com
Published On: Oct 29 2012 05:09:26 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 28 2012 11:00:00 PM CDT

It's difficult enough to predict weather conditions in this region. Imagine what its like for a school system to dismiss early.

WISE COUNTY, Va. -

With Hurricane Sandy developing into a super-storm, its effects depend greatly on your location; but here in our region it's elevation that counts, particularly when it comes to snow.

We went in search of that line where the cold rain changes to snow. The different weather conditions make it difficult for school systems when they dismiss classes.

It's noon on Monday morning and the school buses are back at J.W. Adams Combined School in Pound, Virginia. A cold rain falls on parents waiting to pick up their students early, but there's no snow in sight.

A dozen miles away and a little higher in elevation and you've got snow. It makes the job of transportation director for the county schools difficult in making an early dismissal choice.

"He has about eight different people that travel some of the most problematic roads that we have in the county. Those individuals actually go out and travel on those roads and they look at them. They see the snow accumulation, they look at temperatures, they look at any of the ice that may have collected during the evening or morning," school superintendent Jeff Perry said.

The decision doesn't come easy with the different elevations found in this one county alone. "I think its very difficult for a parent in Big Stone Gap, where with a lower elevation that normally don't have the same kind of lower temperatures and the snow accumulations that we would get on High Knob," the superintendent says.

Once a decision is made the call goes out to just under ten thousand parents and media outlets that the school system is dismissing early.

"When the transportation director and I make the decision that we are going to dismiss at 12:30 we actually call in and leave the message and that message goes out to every single parent in our county," Perry said.

It was a pretty good call this day, as by early afternoon temperatures began to drop and the snow began to fly.