The Huntsville Item, Huntsville, TX

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February 23, 2010

Area schools delay start due to weather

HUNTSVILLE — Due to possible icy road conditions, all Walker County schools and public entities have announced delayed schedules for today.

Administrators at Huntsville Independent School District as well as New Waverly ISD and Alpha Omega Academy have delayed the opening of school until 10 a.m. today.

According to HISD Assistant Superintendent John DeBrock, weather conditions worsened too quickly on Tuesday, worrying administrators that roads might be hazardous when buses begin running routes Wednesday morning.

“It is getting colder faster that we thought and we are concerned about possible icing overnight,” DeBrock said. “We will still evaluate conditions early Wednesday morning to determine any further delays, or if the district should close.”

NWISD Superintendent Dr. Clay Webb issued a similar report, stating that he too would be up “bright and early” today to determine if closure was necessary.

Officials at both HISD and NWISD also reported that bus routes will run on a 2-hour delay Wednesday, with classes beginning at 10 a.m. at all campuses.

According to Huntsville City Manager Bill Baine, city hall will open at 8 a.m. Wednesday, with all employees with school children being given until 10 a.m. to arrive at work.

Walker County offices also will delay their openings until 10 a.m., but only for all non-essential personnel as determined by department heads.

Early voting at the Walker County Annex will be unaffected by the schedule change, opening at 8 a.m. on Wednesday. The vehicle registration office, also located at the annex, will open at 10 a.m.

According to the National Weather Service, an upper level system is the source of Tuesday’s chilly weather, bringing with it a mix of rain, sleet and snow that was expected to accumulate up to 2 inches before midnight.

Tuesday temperatures were predicted to continue to drop overnight, reaching lows in the low 30s. A 90 percent chance of winter precipitation was expected as well, with new accumulations of 1-3 inches.

“Overnight, towards sunrise Wednesday, the system will move east and clear out of the area,” Huntsville/Galveston National Weather Service Meteorologist Chris McKinney said. “The precipitation will end Wednesday morning, with skies clearing and highs reaching the mid-40s.”

While the frozen precipitation was not expected to accumulate on surface roads, McKinney continued to urge caution on roadways, especially on bridges and overpasses.

“Temperatures will be hitting below freezing before midnight (Tuesday),” he said. “So it is still important, in conditions like these, to use caution when driving.”

The NWS reports a chance of rain returning to the area Thursday night and remaining through Friday, with no winter precipitation expected.

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