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Blizzard closes roads, schools

By Staff | Feb 1, 2010

High winds and snow combined to form blizzard conditions Monday, catching travelers and school officials by surprise.

Blue Earth Area Schools closed at 12:30 p.m. and sent students home on the busses.

However, it wasn’t long and the bus drivers turned around and brought the students back to Pemberton Auditorium at the BEA middle school.

“There was too much blowing snow,” bus driver Michelle Hall says. “Keeping the safety of the students in mind, we decided to return.”

School staff began making arrangements for students, calling parents and alerting the media.

“We have a list of alternative homes for each student to stay,” Superintendent Dale Brandsoy says, adding the speed of the blizzard caught school staff by surprise.

“We really expected conditions to worsen later in the afternoon,” says the superintendent. “We really thought we could dismiss school at 12:30 and have everyone home by 1:30 or 2 – but it was worse in the country than we thought.”

The bus drivers found that out in a hurry and returned to Blue Earth — then the phone calling began.

By 2:30 p.m. all the students had been picked up from the school. No one had to stay overnight in the gym.

Busses ran on main highways to the cities of Winnebago, Elmore and Frost, where parents could pick up their children.

School was also called off on Tuesday. Although sporting events on Monday were postponed, those on Tuesday were held as scheduled.

State highways and Interstate 90 freeway were closed Monday afternoon, reopening Tuesday morning.