Frosty returns

Friday, December 9, 2005

The snow is expected to melt Saturday. No more snow is in the forecast for the next week.

Area school children anxiously waited for the predicted snow to start falling Thursday morning, hoping for the first snow day of the school year, but classes began before the flakes started falling.

Snow started appearing about 7:45 a.m. Almost 2 inches were on the ground in Southeast Missouri when it let up at noon, said Jim Packett, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Paducah, Ky.

Packett said the snow should melt by Saturday, when temperatures are expected to reach into the 40s.

Students in Cape Girardeau and Jackson went to school, and watched from the classroom windows as snow fell.

"We went ahead and had school today because there wasn't any snow prior to school starting," said Cape Girardeau public schools superintendent Dr. David Scala. "After school was in session, and we started checking with the weather and street conditions, we felt we should keep the kids in school where it was safe."

Several area schools dismissed children early on Thursday. Oak Ridge R-VI superintendent Gerald Landewee released students at 1 p.m.

"In monitoring the conditions of the roads with county officials and keeping in mind the safety of the students, we decided to send them home early," Landewee said.

The majority of rural schools in the area dismissed students by 1 p.m. or before. Scott City superintendent Diann Bradshaw said because of the heavy amounts of snow falling in the morning, she sent students home at 10:45 a.m.A couple of parents picked students up Thursday morning at Cape Girardeau elementary schools because of the weather, Scala said. But there were no unusually low absentee numbers due to the snowfall.

Scala anticipates Cape Girardeau students will be in school today but wouldn't make a decision until checking road conditions at about 4 this morning.

Notre Dame, Eagle Ridge Christian Academy and Saxony Lutheran Schools had classes as scheduled on Thursday.

The Cape Girardeau Public Works Department was busy picking up leaves Wednesday. Later that afternoon snow plows were attached to the trucks, said Steve Cook, assistant public works director.

"The roads are getting better," Cook said Thursday. "We're out there getting the roads cleaned off as quick as we can."

The city has nine dump trucks with snow plows and salt spreaders attached to them and six more dump trucks working to clear the streets.

"This is our first snow of the year and we were ready for it," Cook said.

The last snow storm in the region occurred two days before Christmas in 2004, when more than 14 inches fell on Southeast Missouri.

Jackson public works director Rodney Bollinger said city street crews began removing snow and ice from streets early Thursday morning. It takes approximately 18 hours to cover all of Jackson's streets with plows and cinders, Bollinger said.

The county roads turned out a little slipperier than expected, said Scott Bechtold, an engineer with the Cape Girardeau County Highway Department.

"If the sun comes up Friday, it should help melt the snow and ice," he said. "But the exception are the hills that face the north. They'll stay slippery."

No snow is forecast for the next week, but Packett said it's not uncommon for snow to show up on the radar unexpectedly.

Jaren and Alyssa Lucas took advantage of the first snowfall of the year Thursday afternoon in Capaha Park.

"We like to go sledding," Jaren said from the top of Cherry Hill. "We're from the South, Birmingham, Ala., and so we really like it when it snows."

The two Cape Girardeau children are home-schooled, and their mother, Sandy, let them out to play in the snow at 2:30 p.m.

"I usually teach them from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., but we wanted to beat the crowd out here," she said.

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