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Morning cold front leads to snow-day debates in Boulder County, with more severe weather on the way

BVSD, SVVSD both delaying starts on Wednesday

  • University of Colorado Boulder sophomore Kevin Morris hits a jump outside of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity house while enjoying the snow after getting let out of school early on Tuesday in Boulder.

  • University of Colorado Boulder sophomore Ross Mix skis down stairs towards a jump outside of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity house while enjoying the snow after getting let out of school early on Tuesday in Boulder.

  • University of Colorado Boulder junior Turner Selvy hucks a backflip off a jump outside of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity house while enjoying the snow after getting let out of school early on Tuesday in Boulder.

  • University of Colorado Boulder sophomore Kyle Cochran hits a jump on his snowboard outside of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity house while enjoying the snow after getting let out of school early on Tuesday in Boulder.

  • University of Colorado Boulder sophomore Ross Mix hits a jump outside of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity house while enjoying the snow after getting let out of school early on Tuesday in Boulder.

  • University of Colorado Boulder sophomore Sam Tameler slides a rail while enjoying the snow after getting let out of school early on Tuesday in Boulder.

  • Pricilla Hale deals with the cold and blowing snow while returning her groceries to her car at the S. Hover King Soopers in Longmont on Oct. 29, 2019.

  • From left: University of Colorado Boulder students Tori Forystek and Brooke Moreilhon go sledding at Scott Carpenter Park in Boulder on Oct. 29, 2019.

  • Jessica Munoz, right, sweeps the snow off her car before putting in the groceries in her car at the S. Hover King Soopers in Longmont on Oct. 29, 2019.

  • A woman walks her dogs across Main Street. People deal with snow and cold along Main Street in Longmont on Oct. 29, 2019.

  • University of Colorado Boulder students Brooke Moreilhon, front, Tori Forystek, back, sled down the hill at Scott Carpenter Park in Boulder on Oct. 29, 2019. CU announced it would be closing the campus at 12:30 p.m. due to the weather.

  • A snow shoveling crew work their way down Main Street. People deal with snow and cold along Main Street in Longmont on Oct. 29, 2019.

  • A person rides north on Main Street Tuesday morning. People deal with snow and cold along Main Street in Longmont on Oct. 29, 2019.

  • Sidewalks are cleared of snow Tuesday morning. People deal with snow and cold along Main Street in Longmont on Oct. 29, 2019.

  • Frankie Francis, 3, has fun sledding on Monday at the Rough and Rowdy Park in Longmont.

  • Sophia Rodas, 6, at front, Quinlan Schmidgall, 9, and Brooklyn Schmidgall, 11, have fun sledding in the fresh snow on Monday at Dry Creek Community Park in Longmont.

  • Sharla Hoover shovels snow Monday in front of her home near Skyline High School in Longmont. National Weather Service spotters reported 3.4 inches of snow in Longmont as of Monday morning, and local schools are on a delayed start.

  • John Louch cross country skis Monday at North Boulder Park. Boulder received 8.8 inches of snow, according to Local meteorologist Matt Kelsch. Kelsch had previously reported Boulder received 11.2 inches of snow but later said that report was in error. More freezing temperatures and snow is expected today and on Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

  • Icicles hang from a building in Roosevelt Park in Longmont on Oct. 28, 2019. National Weather Service spotters reported 3.4 inches of snow in Longmont as of Monday morning, and local schools are on a delayed start.

  • Ginny Strange cross country skis with her dog Mattie on Monday at North Boulder Park. Boulder received 8.8 inches of snow, according to Local meteorologist Matt Kelsch. Kelsch had previously reported Boulder received 11.2 inches of snow but later said that report was in error. More freezing temperatures and snow is expected today and on Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

  • A Longmont snow plow clears Ninth Avenue near Meeker Street in Longmont on Oct. 28, 2019. National Weather Service spotters reported 3.4 inches of snow in Longmont as of Monday morning, and local schools are on a delayed start.

  • A Boulder snow plow is seen Monday on Ninth Street near North Boulder Park. Boulder received 8.8 inches of snow, according to Local meteorologist Matt Kelsch. Kelsch had previously reported Boulder received 11.2 inches of snow but later said that report was in error. More freezing temperatures and snow is expected today and on Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

  • Snow piles up on a picnic table as cross country skiers push through the snow at North Boulder Park on Oct. 28, 2019. Boulder received 8.8 inches of snow, according to Local meteorologist Matt Kelsch. Kelsch had previously reported Boulder received 11.2 inches of snow but later said that report was in error. More freezing temperatures and snow is expected today and on Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

  • Snowplows scrape Nelson Road in Longmont on Oct. 29, 2019.

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Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct that Michael Friesen has two sons who attend schools in Boulder Valley School District.

Boulder County is in for yet another cold night and chilly commute, as the Front Range will see yet another day of snow and freezing temperatures Wednesday.

Boulder County has seen nothing but snow and freezing temperatures since Sunday, and Tuesday morning was no different as a cold front moved through the area between about 5 and 6 a.m.

“We had a pretty good shot of snow right behind the cold front that went through,” said David Barjenbruch with the National Weather Service. “We got a quick round of snow with 2 to 4 inches across Boulder County.”

Barjenbruch said the cold front did arrive a bit earlier than expected.

“It was a fast and pretty good heavy burst of snow that came in just a little before daybreak instead of a little after daybreak,” Barjenbruch said.

With the timing and intensity of snowfall, it was a snarled morning commute across the Front Range, with multiple cities going on accident alert and numerous crashes, including a bus slide-off in Berthoud.

Despite the weather, Boulder Valley and St. Vrain Valley schools both opened on regular schedules, which led to some angry parents on social media.

But Boulder Valley spokesman Randy Barber said the district has to take multiple things into account when making the decision to remain open, including the fact that snow days can create hardships for some students and families.

“Unless it is a complete blizzard, it’s never going to happen that everyone is on the same page,” Barber said.

Barber said the district had teams monitoring both road conditions and the weather forecast early Tuesday, but crews had to make the final decision as the worst of the storm was just moving in.

“The weather in Colorado is highly unpredictable,” Barber said. “Even late last night and early this morning, it was still calling for snow to come in a little later… It’s hard to predict whether it makes sense to delay or close, so it puts us in a tough position.”

Boulder Valley and St. Vrain Valley had delayed starts on Monday, but Barber said the difference on those days was the forecast called for snow to cease in the morning.

“We knew that the forecast showed if we waited a little longer, plows could have a little more time on the roads and the weather would clear up a little bit,” Barber said. “This time, a delayed start would have moved us further into the snow event.”

Michael Friesen, who has two sons in Boulder Valley schools, said he thought the district made the right decision with the information it had.

“There wasn’t really a lot of snow at 5:30 or 6 (a.m.),” Friesen said. “I feel like it was the right decision.”

Friesen said his sons, having already gotten a brief reprieve on Monday, were also on board with the decision.

“They were stoked they got to spend a couple more hours at home (Monday) and then got to go to school in the snow, so it was a win-win for them,” he said.

Friesen added the waiting game is nothing new for Colorado parents, but noted some of them might not have been prepared for it this early in the year.

“It’s October, not January,” he said.

University of Colorado Boulder students Brooke ...
University of Colorado Boulder students Brooke Moreilhon, front, Tori Forystek, back, sled down the hill at Scott Carpenter Park in Boulder on Oct. 29, 2019. CU announced it would be closing the campus at 12:30 p.m. due to the weather.

Barber said that might have played a factor in the hectic commute and some of the angst about driving in the snow on Tuesday.

“Because it’s the first snowstorm, there are a lot of people relearning how to drive in it. You can’t underestimate that, it’s a real phenomenon,” Barber said. “This is pretty typical for Colorado deeper in the winter. We have a whole winter more, so we want to make sure we are taking measures when it makes the most sense.”

While the morning commute was a bit of a mess, many cities and towns took steps to try and make the evening commute a little less stressful, with many opting for early closures.

The University of Colorado Boulder closed its campus at 12:30 p.m. due to the weather.

“A decision regarding delayed start or closure is based on the latest weather reports at the time of the decision and the anticipation of whether the campus can be safely accessed,” wrote CU Boulder spokeswoman Melanie Marquez Parra, who added that the storm coming in earlier than expected factored into the decision to shut down campus early.

As for Wednesday, Boulder Valley as of 8:30 p.m. Tuesday had already made the call to delay start times by two hours. St. Vrain Valley School District also opted for a delayed start of 2 ½ hours. Adams 12 school district, which serves Broomfield, will be closed.

Barjenbruch said Boulder County could see more snow this evening and overnight, along with single-digit temperatures. The only positive to the possibly record-breaking cold is it might keep the snow from melting and refreezing.

“We should manage to maintain a pretty dry track,” Barjenbruch said. “But people should still exercise caution, take a little extra time and use some common sense and everyone will get to work safely.”

Barjenbruch said residents can look forward to at least a little relief later in the week, with the forecast calling for clear skies by Thursday.

“We’ll get through it,” Barjenbruch said. “There is always sunshine on the other side.”

Five-day forecastCheck out what weather is in store for the Boulder County area hereNational Weather ServiceSee what the National Weather service is predicting here24-Hour satelliteWatch NOAA’s 24-hour satellite image hereReal-time conditionsSee what Boulder’s weather is like now at the National Center for Atmospheric Research here

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