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Snow Daze

Having been raised in Maine and worked there for many years, I am sure I experienced snowier, icier, colder winters. I just can’t remember one. This winter has tried the souls of most superintendents. What child doesn’t enjoy hearing the “no school” announcement early on a cold winter’s day? It seems to me that we call school off more frequently than in years past. Why?

Calling school off for bad weather is not a science. It is more like torture. It begins by rising at about 4:30 a.m. and discussing the decision with neighboring superintendents. We tend to have a herd mentality; when one of us makes a decision, most of us will follow.

But why has the decision to close school become more frequent? Doppler radar! Truly this is a device from Satan himself. In the Northeast, for example, we begin to watch a storm days in advance as it develops, and the “meteorologists” hype this for ratings.

Usually it begins with the acknowledgment that the “computer models” have the storm tracking three different paths. One will miss us entirely, the second will give us some snow but change quickly to rain, and the third (the one everyone focuses on) has us in a blizzard for three days. I especially love it when, following these predictions, the local announcer says, “Kids, get ready for a day off,” which I hear as “Your superintendent wouldn’t dare have you go to school with an inch on the ground.” So by the time we get up at 4:30 a.m., our nerves are so frayed that we would cancel our own birthday.

The part I love is listening to why the storm never materialized. At the last minute, just before it was going to slam into the state, it took a right-hand turn and surprisingly went out to sea.