Local schools were closed this morning due to a wintry mix of rain, sleet and snow that left many roads and sidewalks coated in ice.
The Lake Placid, Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake central school districts initially posted two-hour delays before officials in all three districts made the decision to close around 7:15 a.m. this morning. The Keene and AuSable Valley school districts had canceled all classes earlier.
Chip Perham, head bus driver for the Tupper Lake Central School District, said the combination of mixed precipitation and the temperature made some local roads treacherous.
"It's basically like black ice," Perham said this morning. "Right now it's about 32 (degrees) and some of the roads are slushy, but the side roads that have been plowed are just glassy and glare ice."
While the main roads in Saranac Lake and Lake Placid were in decent shape, public school officials in each community also said the side streets and back roads were icy, which prompted the decision to cancel classes.
"It's here or there," said a person who answered the phone at the Lake Placid Central School District's transportation center. "The main roads are good, but the secondary roads are slippery. We're probably safer just to let them stay home."
Three private schools in the Tri-Lakes also closed today: Northern Lights School and St. Bernard's and St. Agnes Catholic elementary schools. The Long Lake Central School District opted for a two-hour delay.
The icy conditions also impacted North Country Community College, which closed all three of its campuses - in Malone, Ticonderoga and Saranac Lake - at 9 a.m. However, classes at Paul Smith's College were going on as scheduled.
The National Weather Service in Burlington issued a winter weather advisory that's in effect until 7 p.m. tonight. The advisory applies to southern Franklin, western Essex, western Clinton and southeastern St. Lawrence counties.
The Weather Service said the mixed precipitation would continue into the early afternoon before changing over to all snow by early evening.
Snow and sleet accumulation of up to 2 inches was expected, along with possible ice accumulation of up to a tenth of an inch. High temperatures were expected to hit the upper 30s.
Wind gusts of up to 40 mph were also in the forecast. The Weather Service said isolated power outages from the winds and ice could be possible.
This most recent winter weather comes in the wake of a major winter storm on Friday that dumped at least a foot or more of snow in the Tri-Lakes. Local schools stayed open during that storm.
Contact Chris Knight at 891-2600 ext. 24 or firstname.lastname@example.org.