Snow Day or Not: On the Front Lines
When my boss asked me about special coverage for Tuesday morning's snow, I hesitated to ask a reporter to come in. You see I sensed the snowfall would be inadequate from an accumulation standpoint. But what intrigued me was the problem a school superintendent would have in deciding if class was in session. So I volunteered to do our live shots with the idea that I would put myself in the shoes of a school official.
I live in Barboursville and normally take I-64 to work. But not today. Instead at 4 AM I took the roads that the buses would take to get the kids to school. My trip to get out to Route 60 winds for only 1 mile. This untreated road was snow covered and slick. It would have to wait for the light of day and the rising temperatures before it was clear since no salt truck makes it back into this hollow.
At the bottom of the hills where I live several cars were parked on the side of the road. Last night my neighbors knew that driving a 2 ton car down a steep hill was no way to start a new school or work day, especially on a 28 degree morning.
Onto Route 60 I turned and a vast improvement. This "main artery" was wet and traffic (well I was the only car at 4 AM) was flowing smoothly. Just 3 hours before the road was snow covered and slick in one lane.
As I passed under I-64 I noticed a tractor trailor racing along on its way to Lexington. I wondered out loud if this trucker knew what his 18 wheeler would face as he drove toward freezing rain in Lexington?
At the Burger King on Route 60, I made the first precarious turn of my trip onto Norway Avenue. Since the next 2 miles winds its way toward downtown Huntington with a series of serpentine hills, I held my breathe.
On Monday evening, traveling this road had become almost impossible with numerous cars spinning out and failing to negotiate the hairpin turns. Not so on this Tuesday morning. The road was well salted and easily passable. Still, in 2 different places, snow and ice had not been thoroughly melted and I purposely spun my wheels. What's the old saying, practice makes perfect?
When I turned onto Eighth avenue (a lightly traveled and hence low priority street to salt), I instantly was back on a slick track that was more ice rink than road. At Hal Greer Blvd I noticed how wet the viaduct was. At the height of the Monday eve snow, cars were stuck at the bottom of the duct. Not so this Tuesday!
Like 8th, 6th avenue thru Collis P's hometown goes untreated until the very end of a storm. On this day it is slippery as an eel. I fishtailed past St. Joes school where I wondered if the good Monsignor would close or delay school?
I pull into the WSAZ parking lot in 20 minutes flat (my trip normally takes 15 minutes using the Interstate) and realized that while the trip was far from easy, allowing extra time would render this a safe day to work and be in school.
So if your school district is delayed by 2 hours or closed, realize that the decision process that superintendents go through is hardly elementary. And just to be difficult, as I post this blog at 6:48 AM, it is now raining and 28 degrees downtown. Not a welcome combination!