Stay inside

WCSD and TCCS close ahead of extreme cold

Photo by Karyn Sullivan Although Charlotte is home-schooled, she is unhappy about being forced to stay indoors during sub-zero temps. Warren County and Tidioute Community Charter School has canceled classes due to extreme temperatures in the forecast.

Warren County School District is not holding classes nor activities today.

St. Joseph Catholic School canceled also.

Tidioute Community Charter School made the call for today and Thursday.

Those kinds of decisions have to be made in the face of weather forecasts like Wednesday’s.

According to the district, evaluations for calling a delay or cancellation typically begin around 3:30 a.m. with effort made to make a decision on delays by 5:30 a.m. When there are delays, the decision to conduct school or to cancel is made by 7:30 a.m.

According to district guidelines for cancellations and delays, officials can take into consideration temperature, road conditions, visibility, and flooding or storm damage.

On Tuesday, the forecast called for a Wednesday high somewhere south of zero degrees.

“Actual temperatures are not a straight-forward indicator of whether it is safe to be outside for a given period of time,” according to the guidelines provided by the district. “In our climate, wind speed can make it feel much colder than is actually being recorded on the thermometer. The sustainability and direction of the wind can also play a significant role in temperature.”

The National Weather Service issued a wind chill warning with possible wind chill temperatures of 30-below-zero.

That is on the chart.

“If the National Weather Service issues a wind chill advisory and wind chill or ‘real feel’ predictions are for temperatures of -24 degrees or colder at 6:30 a.m., a delay may be called,” according to the guidelines. “If the National Weather Service issues a wind chill warning and wind chill or ‘real feel’ predictions are for temperatures of -25 degrees or colder at 6:30 a.m., a delay is likely and cancellation will be considered.”

“The forecast is calling for temperatures as low as minus-30 with the wind chill,” Superintendent Amy Stewart said. “At temperatures that low, we have concerns about the amount of time our students spend outside walking to school.”

“While it is important to have students in school, on time, every scheduled date, the safety of each child is paramount,” according to the guidelines.

The district made the call and canceled school for Wednesday around 2 p.m. Tuesday.

A delay was judged to not be the appropriate response.

“Many times we deal with the coldest temperatures first thing in the morning, then things warm up,” Stewart said. “Normally, a two-hour delay will help in these situations, but tomorrow is not lining up to be that kind of a day.”

The district had not canceled school for Thursday as of press time Tuesday.

“Based upon the latest forecast, the coldest temperatures are supposed to be around 1 p.m.,” she said. “We will continue to monitor the forecast to see how fast or slow this cold air is moving. Once we are reasonably sure of what Thursday is going to look like, we will make the call.”

The district utilizes a number of outlets to spread the word — the district Facebook page and website, local television and radio stations, the call blast system, and the Times Observer app.