The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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November 5, 2013

First winter weather watch is upon us

First winter weather watch is upon us

The first day of May was the last school day that area superintendents had to deal with snowfall causing delays and cancellations.

A Free Press headline said it all: “Upper Midwest schoolchildren get rare May snow day.” Believe it or not, that last gasp of a brutally elongated winter was six months ago (despite feeling more like five minutes ago).

That’s why area school leaders are feeling like the first winter-weather watch of the season today is coming awfully early. From about 4 p.m. today to 6 a.m. Wednesday, southern Minnesota could get up to 4 inches of the sticky white stuff.

“It generally does seem early,” said St. Peter Public Schools Supt. Jeff Olson, who pointed out that September and October have been the only full school months of 2013 when he hasn’t had to think about weather-related school delays and closures.

“I feel like it just hasn’t left us that long,” said Mankato Area Public Schools Supt. Sheri Allen.

To add insult to injury, the Farmer’s Almanac is predicting a repeat of last year: cold and especially snowy. An article on farmersalmanac.com states with fervor, “The ‘Days of Shivery’ are back! … With a combination of below-normal temperatures and above-normal precipitation, the stage will be set for the Midwest, Great Lakes and Central and Northern New England to receive lots of snow.”

But Olson and several other superintendents said they don’t use the Farmer’s Almanac when predicting what the weather will do to their school calendars. They deal with the weather as it comes and pay attention to sinister-sounding weather reports as they pop up throughout the season.

“These days, with alerts on your phone, you know the minute there’s any weather,” said Maple River Public Schools Supt. Dan Anderson.

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