Schools cancel classes as snow begins falling in Kentuckiana

By Matt McCutcheon - e-mail | bio

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - As predicted, the first snowflakes began falling in downtown Louisville around 5 a.m. Tuesday, and Jefferson County Public Schools and Catholic Schools canceled classes soon after.

"We just decided to air on the side of caution and close school today.  We've monitored all the weather channels and talked to a number of meteorologists this morning about what was coming, what's on the ground.  It's very tough; this is one you could second guess all the way to the bank," said JCPS Transportation Director Rick Caple.

JCPS Transportation Director Rick Caple says school officials were watching the weather all night, and decided to cancel classes based on a forecast calling for heavy snow rather than disrupting schedules by starting late or dismissing classes early.  They started analyzing the data as early as 2:00 Tuesday morning.

"I think we're very confident we could have gotten high schools and middle schools on time this morning, but we were concerned about the elementary and then what we'll do this afternoon with two or three inches by noon time."

Caple says even if the main roads are in good shape, the side roads are always a concern for school buses.

"It's those side streets where we've got to pick up kids and we're very concerned about accidents and sliding into people's yards or telephones poles if we went this morning and trying to get kids home this afternoon," Caple said.

The district wanted to avoid sending kids home early in the afternoon if conditions worsened.

"That disrupts parents as well when you have an early dismissal," Caple said.

While JCPS closed school, many administrators still had to report to work.  Even though Tuesday's decision was reached, their work day isn't over as they plan for the next day.

"We're going to be out early Wednesday morning because again we're talking about snow tonight and early in the morning -- maybe a half inch -- so we're going to have to do the same thing Wednesday morning," Caple said.

State Transportation Department spokeswoman Andrea Clifford says the state's fleet of trucks and plows were standing by to attack the snow as soon as began falling.

"We have 166 trucks across our 8-county district - 78 of those are concentrated in Jefferson County," said Clifford. We maintain the interstates in Jefferson County and through an agreement with Louisville Metro they maintain all of the other state routes. So we are focusing heavily on the interstates in Jefferson County and those entrance and exit ramps."

Jefferson County and surrounding areas remain under a winter weather advisory until 7 p.m., with snow accumulations of two to four inches expected.

Stay with WAVE News for continuing coverage throughout the day.

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To find out road conditions, especially while driving, call these numbers:  in Kentucky, dial 511 or visit the web page <>

Outside of Kentucky, call 1-866-737-3767

For out of state road conditions:

Illinois - 1-800-452-IDOT
Indiana - 1-800-261-7623
Missouri - 1-800-222-6400
Tennessee - 1-877-244-0065

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