Forecast

Wednesday: Partly sunny; high of 32

Thursday: Partly sunny; high of 50; 20 percent chance of rain, snow

Friday: Mostly cloudy; high of 52; 10 percent chance of rain, snow

More info: nws.gov

The spring storm that blew into Boulder late Monday night dropped a record 13.1 inches of snow by Tuesday evening, according to meteorologist Matt Kelsch.

Tuesday's snowfall beat the previous April 9 record, which was 11.8 inches, set in 1989.

While most of Boulder saw between 8 and 13 inches, areas to the north and east, such as Longmont, received considerably less snow, Kelsch said.

As temperatures plummeted into the 20s on Monday night, St. Vrain Valley, Adams 12, Denver Public Schools and several other Front Range school districts declared snow days Tuesday. Naropa also declared a snow day Tuesday morning.

Both the Boulder Valley School District and the University of Colorado decided Tuesday morning to remain open.

Briggs Gamblin, a spokesman for Boulder Valley, said transportation crews went out at about 3 a.m., drove the routes the school district's buses would be driving and determined they were safe.

By 7 a.m. Tuesday, Boulder had received only 4.5 inches of snow, and some of that had melted before accumulating.

Gamblin said the school district also was encouraged when the National Weather Service reduced the amount of snow it expected to fall in Boulder.

"Those two things combined to lead us to believe we could have school," Gamblin said. "We've had some complaints, but also several emails from even students and parents and staff thanking us for not closing."

Gamblin said of the 60 emails the district office received, about 50 of them were from people who wished the district had closed.

Heather Vieth pushes her sons Jack, 2, and Max, 5, across North Boulder Park on Tuesday morning.
Heather Vieth pushes her sons Jack, 2, and Max, 5, across North Boulder Park on Tuesday morning. (Paul Aiken)

"We feel like we made the right decision," he said.

Gamblin also said while he understood the early-morning decision could put some parents in a bind, it helped the district make the right call.

"I don't second-guess any other districts because there is an advantage to calling the night before, but we tend to take the approach that we really just need to know what the conditions of the roads are," he said.

But the road conditions were one of the reasons Curtis Jones, of Niwot, was glad the St. Vrain Valley School District closed for the day. Jones -- whose daughter goes to Sunset Middle School in Longmont -- said he drove to work Tuesday morning and thought the road conditions called for a snow day.

"I drove to work this morning in Broomfield, and it was just ice," he said. "It isn't necessarily the amount of snow, but the ice and getting the kids to school. Besides, they've had so few snow days, anyway; it's not worth taking the chance."

Jones added that he appreciated St. Vrain making the decision Monday night so he could plan ahead.

"From a parent's perspective, I definitely like that they make the decision at night," he said. "I understand with Colorado weather, not a single person alive can predict it with any sort of accuracy, and I understand why you would want to do it in the morning, but as a parent I much prefer it in the evening."

As for his daughter's plans, Jones said she was taking advantage of the snow day by having a friend over for a play date.

"She agreed with the snow day," Jones said with a laugh. "She would have done anything rather than go to school."

Some CU students felt the same way.

Junior Chelsea Barrett said although she went to all of her classes Tuesday, most of them were half-full. She said in one of her classes, only three students showed up.

"Some people can't get to class, and then some people think nobody else is going to show up so they don't go," Barrett said. "I think if I had made that call this morning, I would have been a lot happier."

Junior Mollie Starr said CU fails to consider students who may live farther away from campus.

"A snow day would be well deserved," she said. "It's been snowing all day."

Denver International Airport reported 486 flight cancellations Tuesday.

Contact Camera Staff Writer Mitchell Byars at 303-473-1329 or byarsm@dailycamera.com.