COLDWATER, MI (WTVB) -49 straight hours of below zero temperatures for Branch County finally ended at around 10:15 this morning when the thermometer at the airport on Coldwater’s west side showed zero and around a half an hour later, it was 3 degrees and by noon, we returned to double digits for a change, a 25-degree improvement from today’s official low reading of 13 below zero. Thankfully, wind chill values were not a problem with calm conditions contrary to Monday and Tuesday when it felt like it was 35 below to 40 below zero. Icy roads have been the issue since yesterday after the accumulated snow had been scraped away, the left over snowpack became polished by travel, leaving drivers to negotiate very icy surfaces. That’s part of the equation that prompted Branch County school officials yesterday afternoon to decide that classes should be cancelled for today, making it 3 straight days with no school. School days 2014 could become a reality in the county tomorrow ending an extended Christmas break period that started back on December 20th.
Governor Rick Snyder has signed a new school closing law. The measure will allow districts to extend days instead of extending the school year if they exceed the allotted number of cancellation days. Districts can cancel up to six school days a year and the new law allows administrators to lengthen existing days rather than schedule makeup days. Michigan law requires districts to provide 170 days and approximately eleven-hundred hours to qualify for funding.