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Cold, blowing snow forces schools to close again

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A vehicle travels on snow-covered Nineveh Road Tuesday. Scott Roberson / Daily Journal
A vehicle travels on snow-covered Nineveh Road Tuesday. Scott Roberson / Daily Journal

A snow plow works to clear State Road 252 near US 31 Tuesday. Scott Roberson / Daily Journal
A snow plow works to clear State Road 252 near US 31 Tuesday. Scott Roberson / Daily Journal

Seniors at Whiteland Community High School will now spend graduation day in class, since the district had to call off classes again Tuesday due to the weather.

All six of Johnson County’s public school districts canceled school Tuesday after a morning snowstorm blew through central Indiana.

Officials at several school districts originally delayed the start of school by two hours. But classes were called off after area superintendents saw that blowing snow was limiting visibility, meaning bus drivers, parents and students wouldn’t be able to travel safely.

“It was going to be eventually passing us, but unfortunately the two-hour window wasn’t enough for us this time,” Franklin Superintendent David Clendening said.

Greenwood schools has now missed three days of school because of winter weather, Clark-Pleasant and Franklin have missed four days, and Center Grove and Edinburgh have missed five. School districts have applied for a waiver from the Indiana Department of Education so they won’t have to make up two of the days missed because of the snowstorm and subzero temperatures that came through central Indiana two weeks ago.

But school districts have started scheduling class for days they were originally supposed to be off, including Martin Luther King Jr. Day for Center Grove and Nineveh-Hensley-Jackson.

At Franklin, students will have to attend class on May 27, the day after Memorial Day, Clendening said. Clark-Pleasant students will be in school May 30, which is Whiteland Community High School’s commencement, Superintendent Patrick Spray said.

Both Clendening and Spray are hopeful they won’t have to cancel any more school this school year. But with frigid temperatures expected for the rest of the week and more snow expected this weekend, they know additional cancellations are a possibility.

If that happens, school officials will need to consider whether to keep adding makeup days to the end of the school year or whether to find a way to include them elsewhere in the school year. More snow days could mean moving the graduation date for Whiteland, Spray said.

“It’s Indiana, and it’s the winter, so whatever happens. But we’re going to maintain safety for kids,” Clendening said.

The blowing snow and falling temperatures caused dangerous driving conditions across much of central Indiana. All lanes of Interstate 65 south of Johnson County, between the U.S. 31 exit at Taylorsville and the exit for Memphis, Ind., were closed for part of Tuesday because of buildups of ice and snow and several crashes, including a semitrailer rig that crashed near Jonesville, according to an Indiana Department of Transportation news release.

Few accidents were reported on local streets.

High temperatures for the rest of this week are expected to be in the teens, and central Indiana could see another 1 to 3 inches of snow Friday and Saturday night. If that happens, the Indianapolis area will have seen the second-highest amount of snow ever to fall in January, National Weather Service meteorologist Marc Dahmer said.

So far, 24.4 inches of snow has fallen in the Indianapolis area this month. The second-highest snow fall amount for the month was 25.2 inches, set in 1996. The record for January snowfall, 30.7 inches, was set during the blizzard of 1978, Dahmer said.

Long-range forecasts show that the area could get a break from snow and freezing temperatures during the middle or late part of next week, but that forecast could change over the next seven days, Dahmer said.

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