Schools miss more time due to latest storm

News-DemocratFebruary 4, 2014 

The latest winter storm was expected to dump up to 6 inches of snow on the St. Louis region, causing school closings and numerous accidents.

Residents should get a break Wednesday from the latest round of snow to complicate travel in the region.

According to the National Weather Service forecast, on Wednesday skies will be cloudy and the high temperature will peak at 25. Wednesday night will be bitterly cold with a low of 2. The high will be 15 Thursday with a low of 4

The next chance of snow is expected Friday night into Saturday morning.

A fresh blanket of snow complicated travel Tuesday afternoon and forced several schools -- which had already used up their allotment of snow days for the year -- to close early and contemplate whether it was safe to go to class Wednesday.

In the first two hours of the snowstorm on Tuesday afternoon, Belleville police worked five accidents, according to Belleville Police Capt. Don Sax. Illinois State Police in District 11 worked 19 crashes since 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, according to Trooper Calvin Dye. Six of those crashes were on the Interstate and 13 were on state routes, Dye said.

"With snow drifting and high winds, motorists should only travel if necessary. Take it slow. Buckle up and avoid distractions inside your vehicle," Dye said.

Southwest Illinois College and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville closed early Tuesday as did Belleville District 201, Edwardsville District 7 and the Triad School District 2. East St. Louis District 189 canceled all evening activities.

District 201 Superintendent Jeff Dosier said it was a tough decision to close school early. But it was a choice he thought was the correct one.

"The decision to close early was made to keep our students safe and insure our teen drivers safe travels before road conditions deteriorate," Dosier said of the reason school was called off early.

Belleville District 118 Superintendent Matt Klosterman said one of the reasons school leaders err on the side of caution when the decide in the morning if school will be held is that it's tough for an elementary district to act on the fly and send students home early if weather takes a turn for the worse.

"We don't really have a provision for sending kids home once they get to school," Klosterman said. "Where high schools can do some things because the kids are older, we can't send a 5- or 6-year-old kid home to a house where the adults might not be home because they're at work."

The Lessie Bates Continuum of Life building at 1274 N. 37th St. in East St. Louis will be open 24 hours a day until Thursday for anyone who needs a place to stay warm.

East St. Louis Mayor Alvin Parks urged residents to stay off the city streets because of the treacherous conditions.

Both the Illinois and Missouri Departments of transportation urged residents to park their cars and stay home.

The chance of snow Friday and Saturday is pegged at 30 percent, according to the National Weather Service. Forecasters have not yet said how much snow may fall.

Contact reporter Scott Wuerz at swuerz@bnd.com or call 239-2626.

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