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Posted on Wed, Feb 10, 2010 : 6 a.m.

School closings: Washtenaw County districts to be off Wednesday

By Staff


Zamboni operator James Bell shovels the walkway at Veterans Memorial Ice Arena on Tuesday afternoon.

Melanie Maxwell |

It's no surprise: Today will be a snow day for Washtenaw County students.

That includes all 10 of the county's traditional school districts and now Eastern Michigan University, which announced plans to close today at about 6 a.m.

By about 10 p.m. Tuesday, most local schools - including private and charter schools - were making the decision to call off classes.

Transportation officials in the Ann Arbor district originally said they planned to check the roadways at 3 a.m. before making a decision. But shortly after 10 p.m., they said today will indeed be a snow day.

At Washtenaw Community College, classes after 5 p.m. Tuesday were canceled, and all classes starting before 11 a.m. today are canceled. At this point, all classes that start after 11 a.m. will be held as planned.

It's business as usual today at the University of Michigan.

Washtenaw County announced shortly before 7 a.m. that all non-essential staff will start at noon today because of the weather.

A winter storm warning remains in effect until 10 a.m. The National Weather Service says 1 to 2 inches of additional snow may fall before the storm tapers off by early afternoon.

The morning commute is expected to be treacherous due to the snow and increasing wind, meteorologists say.

So how much snow has come down? The latest snowfall totals recorded in Washtenaw County were 8.3 inches at 4:48 a.m. in Ann Arbor and 7 inches at 3:35 a.m. in Ypsilanti.

Here's a list of the announced closures:

Traditional school districts

Private, charter and other schools:


Susie Q

Wed, Feb 10, 2010 : 12:37 p.m.

I was a student at UM when it closed on the Monday after Thanksgiving. It was GREAT!!!! I stayed in A2 over the Thanksgiving weekend, so was already on campus when the snow hit. But the news on TV showed hundreds of cars stranded on area freeways, some trying to get back to campus. I also lived in A2 during the Jan 78 snowstorm that paralyzed Washtenaw County. It started on a Wednesday night and area schools were closed Thurs, Fri, Mon and Tues, I think. It was the longest snow emergency that I have ever experienced. I worked at Village Corner then and we used four wheel drive vehicles to pick up products that could not be delivered by the usual delivery truck.....stuff like eggs and beer.


Wed, Feb 10, 2010 : 11:49 a.m.

Wow - only 8" of snow & they close the schools?!? That wouldn't even constitute a delayed start of school in the UP. We Yoopers only had about 1/2" of snow and our roads are bare.

Adam Jaskiewicz

Wed, Feb 10, 2010 : 11:31 a.m.

Well, we had the same "urban legend" up at Michigan Tech (a student suing for a refund of lost lecture hours), and I was never sure how credible it was. I'm amazed that a few inches can shut stuff down, though. This is Michigan. It snows. This is pretty typical Michigan weather, guys. It's not like we don't know how to deal with snow here. I'm absolutely shocked that people will take their snow day and then proceed to drive to the mall. If you can drive to the mall, you can drive to work. And why do people have so much trouble driving in snow? If you're getting stuck every few feet and sliding all over the road, GET NEW TIRES! Either they're bald, or you've got the wrong kind for the conditions. Would you wear leather-soled dress shoes to walk to the corner store in winter? No? Then why do you drive around with three-season tires on your car? Either get *GOOD* all-season tires, or get yourself a set of snow tires.


Wed, Feb 10, 2010 : 11:05 a.m.

The blizzard of 77-78 closed everything, even the post office.


Wed, Feb 10, 2010 : 10:27 a.m.

Yes, UM did close in 1978 for the blizzard. There was a red alert county-wide ordering people NOT to drive. If large employers would just close for one day, the roads could be cleared so much faster and parking lots cleared, street parking etc would be available. To me the worst citizens are those who get the day off and run out, get in their car and head shopping....clogging up the roads for the road crews. Use a little self-restraint for 24 hours.


Wed, Feb 10, 2010 : 10:22 a.m.

Snapshot, I'm concerned with other people who have to be out there as well, but the fact is, the vast majority of the university is not involved in critical functions and could be shut down to keep unnecessary people off the streets. It's a huge employer, and it has a responsibility to think about its workers' safety and those who could be harmed from having those employees driving to work. Other universities I have worked with recognize the difference between employees working in critical areas and those not. And other large employers in the area have shut down before. When Pfizer was here, it shut down to protect its workers, and that's a for-profit business. Today may turn out to be not so bad, but I think basing the decision on where the students are located misses the point. And yes, professors are canceling classes today, making me really question what is going here.


Wed, Feb 10, 2010 : 9:39 a.m.

Mary, You're right. As far as I can remember the U closed twice in the '70s and none since then. That blizzard of '77-78 was by far the worst we've had around here.


Wed, Feb 10, 2010 : 9:35 a.m.

I also wonder about that UM urban legend... it was around when I was at UM in the late 90s/early 2000s too. I personally work for the County now and while I appreciate the sentiment of closing this morning... I am sitting at work right now with several coworkers because the word didn't get out until after 7 a.m... many of us start at 7 or 7:30. Also when I was a kid (in Rochester, MI) we never knew about snow days until the morning of either. Never the night before.

Mary Keeley

Wed, Feb 10, 2010 : 9:21 a.m.

The University closed twice in the 70's. When I was a junior we to hit really hard on Thanksgiving Weekend. Classes were canceled for Monday. I thought it was because many were snowed in out of town. (It snowed Saturday night through Sunday. I Heard then it was the fist closure ever. Then in the late 70's we got over 30 inches and everything in town closed down for two days. I am pretty sure the U closed. They did call snow days for the employees. I worked at the hospital then and walked to work and earned two vacation days. But it was very very quiet. Outpatient activity was closed

David Cahill

Wed, Feb 10, 2010 : 9:13 a.m.

We live on Broadway, which is a major snow route. About an hour ago, I saw one of the City's big trash-pickup trucks backing down the Broadway hill. This is not a good sign.


Wed, Feb 10, 2010 : 9:04 a.m.

Regarding UM - I don't know if this is urban legend, but when I attended in the early '90s, I was told that UM wouldn't close for weather at any time. The reason was that there had been students who had tried to get prorated refunds for the snow day since they were no longer getting the predicted number of hours of lecture for the term. There was talk that a lawsuit was involved. As I said, I'm not sure if this is true; but it is believable to me.

Urban Sombrero

Wed, Feb 10, 2010 : 8:31 a.m.

Yay, snow day! The kids will spend the day sledding and drinking hot cocoa. Such a tough life. I have to say that I'm really impressed with the automated call system AAPS put into place. I got the call last night before they even released the info to the news organizations. In fact, I accidentally hung up on the call the first time and it called me back. It's very convenient and I really liked knowing so early so that I could plan for my day. Score one for AAPS.


Wed, Feb 10, 2010 : 8:31 a.m.

It's so frustrating that UM never closes, no worry about the safety of the employees. You know well and good that Pres. Coleman is at home today.

Andrew Thomas

Wed, Feb 10, 2010 : 8:21 a.m.

Actually, this is one of the earliest notifications of a snow day by AAPS that I can remember. We used to have to wait until morning to see if the schools were closed. The automated call system (just implemented a week or so ago) is a great improvement.


Wed, Feb 10, 2010 : 8:20 a.m.

CLX, what about all the poor folks who work in businesses that never have a snow day? I don't hear anyone concerned for their lives.

Mike Nowak

Wed, Feb 10, 2010 : 7:17 a.m.

I agree with you totally CLX.


Wed, Feb 10, 2010 : 7:14 a.m.

CLX, of course not! I was once informed that the U doesn't shut down because many of the faculty and students live within walking distance of campus. However, that doesn't take into account the number of faculty, lecturers, and graduate student instructors with young children enrolled in AAPS. As a result, they cancel class to stay home with their children and staff end up running all over campus, posting signs informing students that classes are canceled. So frustrating.


Wed, Feb 10, 2010 : 7:13 a.m.

The snow looks beautiful, no doubt. Have to agree with some earlier comments though. It puzzles me that employers and schools make it so difficult to plan. I realize the weathermen can be wrong, but when all evidence points to The Big Storm, why can we just give people permission to do the right thing, use their best judgment and not risk their own and others lives. Most of us could easily plan to bring work home and do that while we wait it out. Is the world really going to be that much worse off if we don't show up at 8 am or even take the day off. The work can be made up. Injuries and deaths cannot. Stay off the roads and let the snow crews do their jobs!! We'll all be much better off.


Wed, Feb 10, 2010 : 6:49 a.m.

Per usual, UM will not close, risking the safety of those it employs.


Wed, Feb 10, 2010 : 6:29 a.m.

Ok Ann Arbor, Best Snow Day Story, C'mon.... Mine was when my brother and I opened the door to our Portgage Lake Cottage and there was a wall of snow covering the entire door. We had to dig a tunnel out into the yard, we made igloos and had chocolate with whip cream. The snowball fight later on was a great one. Post your favorite snow day memory, and let's see how many fun Tree Town Snow stories we can get.


Wed, Feb 10, 2010 : 6 a.m.

EMU is now closed...yay!


Wed, Feb 10, 2010 : 2:31 a.m.

Lucky Michiganders.... I miss snow days. Enjoy it, Ann Arbor! By the way, I expect it to not rain when I visit for Christmas 2010, unlike the past two years....

Macabre Sunset

Tue, Feb 9, 2010 : 10:34 p.m.

It's a wise move. This storm has quite a wallop - already up to 5 inches here, and it's not the fluffy stuff that's easy to move.


Tue, Feb 9, 2010 : 10:29 p.m.

very nice photo gallery!


Tue, Feb 9, 2010 : 10:16 p.m.

Ann Arbor has officially closed. We just got the automated phone call from my daughter's school.


Tue, Feb 9, 2010 : 10:13 p.m.

Just got the call - No school on Wednesday for Ann Arbor!


Tue, Feb 9, 2010 : 10:05 p.m.

I realize that it is a difficult decision to close schools, but it seems like those making the decisions fail to acknowledge the extent to which people need to PLAN to have adequate support and supervision for their children. I hope that future decisions can be made earlier to help those families who do not have the resources to have backup plans that can be implemented in 2 or 3 hours' notice (in other words, 98% of us).

Jeff S

Tue, Feb 9, 2010 : 9:58 p.m.

Great photos! Especially the ones of the fences at vets and the man with the bright orange gloves!

Scot Graden

Tue, Feb 9, 2010 : 9:50 p.m.

Saline is closed on Wednesday due inclement weather.


Tue, Feb 9, 2010 : 9:43 p.m.

This is the first county I have ever lived in where the school closings seem like some kind of contest to see who will go first!