Education

Icy roads, frozen parking lots prompt Wake schools to close Wednesday

Posted January 10

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— With school parking lots and carpool lanes still covered in ice, Wake County Public School System announced it will remained closed for a third day on Wednesday.

Wake Forest, in the northern part of the county-wide school system, is the biggest problem, spokesperson Lisa Luten said Tuesday morning.

"In Wake County, many students attend a school outside their base school/neighborhood school. This means students might be crossing towns to attend a magnet school or a school they transferred to for other reason," Luten said. "The same is true for teachers. Many teachers and staff work in schools that aren't near their homes but still in Wake County."

Principals and custodians checked on school buildings Monday to make sure the heat was working well enough to welcome back students and teachers, Luten said. They would again be on the properties Tuesday and would factor into the decision on whether another snow day is in the offing for Wednesday.

Durham, Johnston and Orange counties and the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools also canceled classes for Wednesday.

Warmer weather on Tuesday hastened the meltdown. Temperatures topped out above freezing by noon on the way to a forecast 70 degrees on Friday.

Luten pointed out that, on a normal school day, buses begin their rounds at 4:45 a.m. Even a three-hour delay would still put them on the road before the heat of the day and during the morning commute, she said.

But Lindsey Spell said she is enjoying her time off.

"It has been fun to play and I like to make snow angels on the ground," she said.

Wake County posted a detailed list of make-up days based on the various school calendars on the school system website. Students on traditional calendars will make up Monday, Jan. 9, on Friday, Jan. 27, Tuesday, Jan. 10, on Monday, Feb. 20, and Wednesday, Jan. 11 on Friday, Mar. 31.

Students on a traditional calendar in Durham will make up Monday on Jan. 23, Tuesday on March 27 and Wednesday on April 17. Details for other calendar schedules are also posted online.

For a full list of public and private school closures and delays, check out WRAL.com's closings page.

Trooper unsurprised by another snow day

Trooper Michael Anderson has worked the roads since Friday and, through the snow and ice, has seen a lot.

"I have seen a lot of vehicles sliding off of the roadway into the ditch," he said.

More recently, Anderson has also seen improvement. Sunny conditions and the hard work of road crews have cleared many major roadways, but when some school districts called for another snow day on Wednesday, Anderson said "I am not surprised."

Anderson said while some parts of the Triangle appear to be essentially back to normal, many places are not.

"In the northern part of Wake County, a lot of these back roads and subdivisions especially, the roads have not been touched," he said.

One spot in Raleigh looked like it hadn't been scraped at all, Anderson said.

"You can be driving along, it is completely dry, you turn the corner and it is a sheet of ice," he said.

20 Comments

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  • Rod Runner Jan 11, 9:33 a.m.
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    How they do it in the north? They generally don't get rain and ice before the snow. It is easier to drive on packed snow and easier to plow snow. Also, they get snow many more days than the south and can justify the cost of having enough trucks and salt ready to go. Obviously they are going to do it better because it's a fact of life in the north that there will be snow.

    Some years in NC we don't even get snow or ice. So why would we pay for trucks and the maintenance of trucks that have no use outside of 0 - 5 days a year?

  • Rod Runner Jan 11, 9:30 a.m.
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    Plow and put brine behind? You do realize we usually don't get snow first, as was the case here.

    We got freezing rain and sleet first. That cannot be plowed.

    Also, we already know what happens when the slow plows/brine trucks are on the road at the same time as the cars when the snow starts. Did you live here in 2005? When people sat in traffic for half a day because the snow started and school was let out and the plows/brine trucks got on the road when the snow started?

    NC does not have enough brine trucks to have them out when the sleet/snow starts anyway. We are not a northern state, we cannot spend money on extra trucks that will almost never be used. Missing a couple of days of school is not worth the money on wasted trucks. Some years we don't even have winter weather.

    Also, NC DOT is not responsible for parking lots, they are not state roads. Just as they are not responsible for more subdivision streets.

  • Joe Thomas Jan 11, 9:18 a.m.
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    well said buddy

  • Randall Kerr Jan 11, 8:53 a.m.
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    This isn't about the south not being able to handle snow or the size of the district. It's about county and school leaders not being proactive. Under state law, the county could hire contractors to plow bus routes and clean school grounds during and immediately after the snow. It would probably cost 10-20 thousand per event. That's a drop in the bucket compared to the economic impact of parents missing work.

  • Lamario Kelly Jan 11, 8:42 a.m.
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    A lot of you on here are unbelievable. Yes for parents like myself who has to take off a 3rd day of work bc of the ice/snow is not ideal at all. But I'am not mad at all, while providing for my family is great, I'd rather my little girl be safe. Bus drivers are human as well and may not have great experience driving in slick conditions. NC only see's something like this every so often. For the ones with something to say it is not just WCPSS, it's Durham, Orange, etc...also it's not the school parking lots that we are worried about, it's more like secondary roads. I just purchased my first home in Raleigh. My neighborhood still has ice and the secondary road off my street and is literally a sled persons dream. I don't knock Wake County, bc I'd rather have a safe daughter then risk a chance of a bus sliding off the road or a kid getting hit bc of crazy driving. In the end stop complaining and take life's curveballs...

  • Ed Smail Sr. Jan 11, 8:16 a.m.
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    Southern states just do not have the equipment and manpower to treat all roads 24/7 when it snows. So, we just wait for the big orange ball to melt it. Full disclosure, we can work from home and have no children, so for us, not a big deal. And being transplants from Pittsburgh, it did take some to get used to how the south deals with snow. Go STEELERS!

  • Joe Thomas Jan 10, 10:03 p.m.
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    Not having money is sacrificing? The principles and custodians had no problem get from the parking lot to the building it's bull**** any excuse to take a day off for the school system

  • Kim Harrison Jan 10, 7:59 p.m.
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    The "Schools" should be out? Who are you referencing? The principals, custodians? With what tools? Salt, sand and a shovel? Have you seen the size of HS parking lots? Elementary playgrounds? There are over 172 schools in this district so I am not sure who or how many you think can clear that amount of turf even with the help of the sun for a few hours. The sun is stronger when it it does not have to compete with freezing temps, too. I would love to see the community volunteer to help clean the grounds so the darlings could return to school.

  • Kim Harrison Jan 10, 7:54 p.m.
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    That's called parenting. Sacrificing. Would you rather a bus slide off the road or a child slip and fall in front of a car on ice and get injured.....There are pictures than any one individual.

  • Joe Thomas Jan 10, 7:07 p.m.
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    What a joke wake county school system finds any reason to cancel school. What about the parents who have to take the day off with out pay because school is cancelled? Canceling school when it's going to be 50 outside is ridiculous. The principles and custodians had no problem getting to the schools complete joke 100%

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