Record snowfall closes schools again

Becky Vargo • Jul 21, 2015 at 12:16 PM

The heavy, wet snow – seven inches recorded at the Muskegon County Airport — also caused some local power outages and a variety of crashes and slide-offs.

Conferences will go on as scheduled at Grand Haven Area Public Schools, officials said.

The state allows for 30 hours of "Snow Days," said GHAPS  Superintendent Keith Konarska for a story after schools were closed last Friday. That was the sixth day off for that district.

Konarska said the school had built in that extra day to the schedule, but any more snow days would have to be made up during the rest of the school year.

The superintendent said there were some half days scheduled that will probably have to become full days now.

 Area schools closed today included: Grand Haven Area Public, Spring Lake Public, Grand Haven Christian, St. John Lutheran, St. Mary's in Spring Lake, Walden Green Montessori  and West Michigan Academy of Arts and Academics.

Spring Lake Schools Superintendent Dennis Furton said the school system has now used up all available snow days. But with the extra time budgeted into the schedule, no days will be added.

“According to our calculations, we don’t need to make up any time at this point,” Furton said. “Anything beyond that, we do.”

Furton said it was the condition of the secondary roads that caused him to make the decision to close school today.

“It’s very unlikely for them to be cleared today,” he said. “The buses wouldn’t have adequate ability to stop” in the wet, slushy snow.

Furton said school was canceled because of snow or ice on Jan. 22, Jan. 28, Feb. 1, Feb. 8, Feb. 11, Feb. 19, Feb. 22 and today.

If there is another snow day, Furton said another day would have to be added at the end of the school year to make up the time.

The superintendent said he hoped there would be no more snow days.

“We need some consistency to our schedule,” he said.

Grand Haven High School teacher C.E. Sikkenga noted on his facebook page this morning: “I do not keep accurate records on such things, but I believe the single season record for most snow days in my career stands at eight back in 1993-94. Today makes seven this year. Hard to believe that six weeks ago I was joking about how we do not get snow anymore. Harder to believe I have reached the point where a snow day is more annoying/inconvenient than enjoyable.”

Two power outages were reported in the Grand Haven area for Board of Light and Power customers, said spokesperson Renee Molyneux.

Twelve Colfax Street customers were without power Tuesday evening when a transformer fuse blew, Molyneux said. About 80 customers on North Shore Estates lost power for a little over an hour this morning when a tree fell on a primary line.

The Consumers Energy outage map showed isolated power outages in the area of Lakeshore and Lincoln in Grand Haven Township and on Apple Drive and on 112th Avenue in Crockery Township.

Crashes around the area included a car versus a transit bus at about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday on M-45 near 14th Avenue, and two cars and a school bus just before 8 this morning on M-45 near Linden. One person in one of the cars was injured. No children on the bus were hurt.

The heavy, wet snow is a result of the warmer temperatures and air saturated with moisture, said Mark Sekelsky, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Rapids.

“It’s winding down today,” he said.

Still, there was between 4 and 7 inches of snow reported overnight in West Michigan, he said.

As of midnight the season total for Muskegon was 90.9 inches, almost 10 inches above normal.

The total for February alone is 51.3 inches, Sekelsky said. The record snowfall for February was broken on Saturday. The former record was 45.8 inches set in 1981.

Sekelsky said temperatures would fall below normal Friday through Monday with highs in the upper 20s and lows in the teens.

The next chance for an accumulating snowfall is Tuesday.

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