Snow closes Foresthill schools as storm pounds Sierra

Colfax schools stay open but absentee rate up
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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AUBURN CA - Snow falling in the upper elevations of Placer County closed at least three schools Wednesday. Foresthill elementary, middle and high schools declared a "snow day" and cancelled classes because of snow conditions in that community, which sits at about 3,000 feet. Doug Marquand, Placer Union High School District assistant superintendant, said decisions on snow days are typically made after conditions are gauged early in the morning by the school superintendent and bus transportation providers. The tentative make-up date for Foresthill High School would be April 9, which was to have been an additional Monday added to the spring break. Light drizzle was falling in Auburn on Wednesday morning and clouds rolling through produced sporadic showers throughout the afternoon. Pre-schooler Brendan Lyons was enjoying the experience of making snowballs as he walked with his mother Lisa Lyons, and baby brother, Daniel, to the post box near their Foresthill home. “We’ve just had a dusting before this,” Lisa Lyons said. “He’s been waiting to play in the snow all year.” It snowed Wednesday morning in Colfax but not enough to shut schools so it was education as usual at Colfax elementary and Colfax high. Snow conditions did produce a higher absentee rate, said Terri Smith, Colfax Elementary district secretary. "We had several students out because they couldn't get out of their driveway or live in isolated areas," Smith said. Four inches of snow had fallen at Alta as blizzard-like conditions hunkered down in the Sierra. Alta resident Lisa Staab said the storm was pounding the mountain community. "Up here we have lots of snow, cold and blizzard-like white-out conditions," Staab said. At Colfax Towing, office manager Loreen Chapman reported no uptick in calls early Wednesday for a business that tows as high as Kingvale. "People are staying on the road," Chapman said. Officer David Martinez of the California Highway Patrol’s Auburn office said a couple of spinouts were recorded in the Colfax area in the afternoon as the afternoon progressed. “Hopefully people will be slowing down,” Martinez said. Colfax’s overnight snowfall gave way to warmer temperatures that were already melting what was left on the ground by mid-morning, Chapman said. Perhaps an inch of the white stuff was still clinging to rooftops by 10 a.m., she said. But by afternoon, snow had started to fall again. Higher up, Sugar Bowl marketing coordinator Heather Graziano said skiers and snowboarders were rejoicing at the Donner Summit resort over 18 inches of new snow and the promise of more to come. “That’s a much appreciated jump from the original forecast of two to four inches,” Graziano said. Two to four feet of new snow is being forecast by the National Weather Service. With skies clearing and warmer temperatures in the forecast for Friday through Sunday, Graziano said it should be an easy travel day up and down Interstate 80. “Conditions are ripe for the best weekend of skiing and riding thus far this season,” Graziano said.