Steamboat schools weather closure is 1st in 22 years; back open today

Schools last closed for low temperatures in 1989

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— Steamboat Springs School District students were out of school Wednesday for weather-related reasons for the first time in nearly 22 years.

According to Steamboat Pilot & Today archives, the district last canceled classes Feb. 6 and 7, 1989 — and that was at least 46 years after the previous weather-related closure.

District Superintendent Sha­lee Cunningham canceled school Wed­nesday because temperatures reached 40 degrees below zero at the district’s bus barn. She said it was a matter of safety.

The school district’s official school closing and cancellation policy, which was drafted in 1972 and revised most recently in 1999, states that “school will be canceled in the event the temperature drops to 40 degrees below zero.”

Lowell Whiteman Primary School and Christian Heritage School also were canceled. The Lowell Whiteman School and the Hayden and South Routt school districts remained open.

The story “Steamboat teeters on edge of deep freeze” in the Feb. 9, 1989, Steamboat Pilot stated that the district’s students missed two days of school because of a temperature of 42 degrees below zero and a heating gas shortage.

Then-Superintendent JAlan Aufderheide told the Pilot that only a third of the district’s buses started Feb. 6. He told the newspaper that officials from Greeley Gas Co. asked the district to keep its doors closed Feb. 7. The story also stated that pipes froze at the district administration building, but damage was minor.

In a related story, “Schools close for the first time in ages,” in the Feb. 9, 1989, issue of the Pilot, current and former district employees told the newspaper that the schools had never closed during their tenures.

“George Sauer, former superintendent who began work in 1942, also does not remember the schools being closed,” the story stated. “Bud Root, junior high principal who arrived in Steamboat in 1961, also does not recall the district shutting down the schools.”

The story continued, “But Gloria Gossard, a longtime Steamboat local, does recall school being let out for a day due to weather during the late 1930s when she was in school.”

The story references a similar cold spell four years earlier in which the district didn’t close the schools.

According to the Feb. 7, 1985, Steamboat Pilot, the temperature reached 44 degrees below zero Feb. 1 of that year, but the schools remained open despite four buses not starting. It stated that the district arranged other transportation for students.

The last time the district’s schools closed unexpectedly for a non-weather-related reason was Feb. 4, 1994, the day after the Good News Building at Fifth Street and Lincoln Avenue blew up in a natural gas explosion, according to that day’s Steamboat Today.

Deb Ginesta, administrative assistant to the superintendent, said the school doesn’t keep records of closures.

Cunningham said the district’s schools are back open today.

By the numbers

Steamboat Springs’ low temperature of minus 36 Wednesday tied the record for Feb. 2, set in 1956. In Yampa, the low of minus 35 set a new record for Feb. 2, breaking the previous record of minus 24, set in 1985.

■ Wednesday morning’s low temperatures across Colorado:

Walden: -42

Craig: -38

Meeker: -37

Steamboat Springs: -36

Yampa: -35

Leadville: -32

Kremmling: -27

Aspen: -25

Alamosa: -24

DIA: -17

Gunnison: -17

Sterling: -15

Telluride: -15

Boulder: -13

Colorado Springs: -12

Pueblo: -7

Durango: 1

■ Colo­rado record low: minus 61 on Feb. 1, 1985, in Maybell

■ Steamboat Springs record lows from 1893 to 2011:

1. -54 on Jan. 7, 1913

2. 50 on Jan. 12, 1963

3. -48 on Feb. 10, 1933

4. -46 on Jan. 13, 1963

5. -44 on Feb. 1, 1985

5. -44 on Feb. 1, 1951

5. -44 on Feb. 18, 1942

5. -44 on Jan. 22, 1937

5. -44 on Jan. 20, 1922

5. -44 on Dec. 18, 1909

■ Steamboat Springs record lows from 1893 to 2011 in December:

1. -44 on Dec. 18, 1909

2. -39 on Dec. 25, 1924

3. -38 on Dec. 13, 1932

4. -37 on Dec. 22, 1990

4. -37 on Dec. 24, 1924

6. -36 on Dec. 8, 1978

6. -36 on Dec. 26, 1962

8. -35 on Dec. 24, 1990

8. -35 on Dec. 28, 1916

10. -34 on Dec. 8, 2005

■ Steamboat Springs record lows from 1893 to 2011 in January:

1. -54 on Jan. 7, 1913

2. -50 on Jan. 12, 1963

3. -46 on Jan. 13, 1963

4. -44 on Jan. 22, 1937

4. -44 on Jan. 20, 1922

6. -43 on Jan. 10, 1962

7. -42 on Jan. 6, 1913

8. -40 on Jan. 11, 1962

8. -40 on Jan. 19, 1940

8. -40 on Jan. 9, 1930

■ Steamboat Springs record lows from 1893 to 2011 in February:

1. -48 on Feb. 10, 1933

2. -44 on Feb. 1, 1985

2. -44 on Feb. 1, 1951

2. -44 on Feb. 18, 1942

5. -42 on Feb. 6, 1989

6. -41 on Feb. 6, 1982

7. -40 on Feb. 9, 1929

8. -39 on Feb. 28, 1962

9. -38 on Feb. 19, 1942

10. -37 on Feb. 7, 1989

Source: National Weather Service

— To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or e-mail jweinstein@steamboattoday.com

Comments

Scott Wedel 3 years, 7 months ago

So what is the criteria for whether or not schools will be open tomorrow? If the Superintendent is proposing a new policy of -30F then is that the criteria for Thursday or is it if school bus yard reaches -40F at 4:30am?

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