Winter weather causes schools and businesses to close

Jan. 26, 2013 @ 06:34 AM

With a 100 percent chance of a wintry mix in Rutherford County on Friday, schools were closed, the towns of Forest City and Spindale and Rutherford County government offices closed early. Motorists were advised to stay off the roadways until necessary to travel.

Crews from the Department of Transportation were out early with road scrapers to areas reporting icy conditions.

At about 3 p.m. Friday, there were some calls of motor vehicle accidents, as roads became slick across the county.

Joe Maimone, headmaster at Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy, announced the school closing on Thursday evening.

"The concern for ice was much greater for that of snow and we wanted to make sure that drivers, especially our student drivers, would be off the of the roads today," he said. "We had considered a possible early release, but the timing of when it was supposed to sleet and ice would have meant the students would have been on the road in the afternoon as well. So we decided it was safer to just cancel school for the day."

"We encourage all of our students to stay in and not be on the roads today. I think it was the right decision to cancel school. TJCA will make up this day by adding an early release day on Thursday, March 28 to begin our Easter break," Maimone added.

Rutherford County Schools Superintendent Janet Mason said, "We had a workday scheduled for professional development on Feb. 8. Students will come to school now on that day,"

She said she made the decision to close schools based on the weather forecast.

"This morning we had sleet coming down in the Lake Lure area as early as 7:30 a.m. I'm glad we made the call that we did," Mason said. "Some days it is a close call, but when it is, safety is always going to win in my book. I am going to make the safest call."

The weather was also a problem for buses.

"The thing that people may not realize is that we share buses at our elementary schools in order to increase efficiency and decrease transportation cost. It takes three hours to run all of the bus routes," Mason said. "Because the elementary schools are staggered by an hour, if we dismissed them, half of the elementary school would have to wait an hour before their buses have finished the first set of schools. We knew that we needed three hours for the routes and we were pretty confident that this weather was coming."

Today, there will be a delayed opening of the Rutherford County convenience sites, landfill and transfer station. They will open at 9 a.m. and will close at their normal times.