Schools cancelled, delayed after storm sneaks up on northern RI

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BURRILLVILLE/NORTH SMITHFIELD – While many across the region were focused on the Super Bowl Sunday evening, Mother Nature had her own plans, dumping around ten inches of snow across some parts of northern Rhode Island.

North Smithfield Public Schools announced that Monday, Feb. 14 would be an official snow day, with no virtual learning for students.

“A traditional snow day for Valentines Day,” noted the North Smithfield Public Schools Facebook page.

In Burrillville, schools were delayed by one hour, then extended to two hours to accommodate clean up, before ultimately being closed for the day due to a lack of bus drivers. That district will also forgo distance learning and give students a snow day, while Foster-Glocester Elementary Schools announced a distance learning day.

Burrillville Extended Care was also delayed for only one hour initially before ultimately announcing closure. The town of North Smithfield announced that municipal offices would open at noon, and the North Smithfield Library had a two hour delay.

The accumulation came as a surprise to many. Forecasters had predicted only 1-3 inches of snow from the storm, and unlike snowfall earlier in the season, where parking bans made way for hours of clean up, few had been announced as of Monday morning.

With more than 10 inches, North Smithfield appears to have seen the worst of the surprise snowfall.

“We’re just catching up with the storm,” Public Works Director Ray Pendergast told NRI NOW late Monday morning, noting original projections saw a, “dusting,” to one each headed toward northern Rhode Island. “We had been out all night. It just didn’t stop snowing. We never went home, and it got worse and worse.”

Pendergast said that while the roads were ready in time for school Monday morning, he thought the school department made the right decision in cancelling.

“I think this just caught everyone off guard,” he said.

Snow was finally expected to wrap up around 7 a.m. and the remainder of the day was projected to remain dry.

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