Carson schools stay open despite storm

Shannon Litz / Nevada AppealFour-year-old Brian Siple builds a wall of snow in his Carson City front yard on Friday morning.

Shannon Litz / Nevada AppealFour-year-old Brian Siple builds a wall of snow in his Carson City front yard on Friday morning.

While some neighboring counties canceled school or started late, the Carson City School District carried forward with its regular schedule despite Friday's snowstorm.

Superintendent Richard Stokes said the district is unique in that it covers a small geographic area, with most students living within 10 miles of their respective schools.

He said the safety director begins inspection of the roads at about

4 a.m. and contacts the city roads department for a consultation.

"We then try to get a feel for all the conditions, including the weather, temperature and forecast," Stokes said. "(Friday) morning, all the variables were taken into account, and we concluded we could safely transport the students."

He said it turned out to be the right call.

"During the day, it never really hit us," he said. "They city's done a nice job of sanding the streets and moving the snow."

He said they notified morning radio and television programs of the decision and had it posted on the district website by 6:30 a.m. He said they will try to post it earlier in the future.

Still, he said, the final decision rests with parents.

"If parents feel there's a reason their kids are not going to be safe, we leave that call up to them," he said. "We honor that."

Lyon County also held regular classes, while Washoe and Douglas counties canceled school for the day.

"It was a real tough call today," said Rich Alexander, assistant superintendent of the Douglas County School District. "I kept looking at the satellite picture and it looked like we could really get hit this afternoon when we were letting kids out."

Western Nevada College signaled its plans for Friday when officials canceled all Carson and Douglas classes Thursday night.

The college also wad closed Friday.

The forecast blizzard never materialized, and the winter storm warning was downgraded to a weather advisory on Friday morning.

National Weather Service forecaster Shane Snyder said the snow was not expected to taper off in the region until Saturday morning. Another storm was expected late next week in the Sierra.

This week's storms were a major boost to the Sierra snowpack, which provides much of the runoff water for homes, businesses and farms in California and Nevada, Snyder said.

The recent storms have pushed water content in the Tahoe basin's snowpack to over 130 percent of average for the date. That figure for Tahoe had been more than 200 percent of normal for the date after an unusually snowy December and November, but had dropped after a dry January.

• The Associated Press and Kurt Hildebrand contributed to this report.


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