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Ledyard Students May See More Snow Days This Year

A weak El Nino could bring larger snowfall amounts this winter.

Ledyard Students May See More Snow Days This Year


Going back to school is looming for Ledyard and many nearby school districts later this month, but in the dog days of summer probably few people are thinking about the potential for school snow days this year.

But weather folks do and so to do the officials who set their annual school calendars each year. In Connecticut, public schools are required to have at least 180 instructional days each academic year and most districts include in their schedules several extra days in the event school has to be canceled because of snow.

Ledyard goes back to school on Aug. 29 and the calendar the Board of Education approved earlier this year includes 5 snow days, which would appear to be plenty given last winter's snowfall but, remember, the year before that was a whole different story.

which put the district in "the unenviable position of attempting to determine the best among several imperfect solutions for making up the missed days," wrote Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael Graner on a .

Ledyard schools converted vacation days in February into instruction days and districts all around had to either reduce vacation days tack on days at the end of the school year. But, as if to make up for the injustice, southeastern Connecticut enjoyed a very mild winter in 2011-12 and few districts canceled a day of school because of snow.

Meteorologists say they probably will this year.

Forecasters with AccuWeather.com are projecting a weak to moderate El Niño will begin to dominate weather patterns in the Northeast by late in the summer. A weak El Niño, warm tropical air masses that blow west to east, brings with it greater snowfalls in the winter.

If you’re a kid hoping for a school snow day, a weak El Niño is the answer to your prayers.

"Historically, both strong La Niñas and weak El Niños have produced higher-than-average snowfall in the Northeastern U.S.," said Jack Boston, a senior meteorologist with AccuWeather.com.

While there was little snowfall in the state last winter, Connecticut still saw enough disruptive weather to complicate school schedules during the academic year.

First, there was Tropical Storm Irene, which hit in late August last year, cutting power to about 800,000 across the state and forcing many school districts to delay the start of the school year, some by nearly a week.

Then, a freak October snowstorm that hit around Halloween again cut power to hundreds of thousands in Connecticut and forced school districts to close.  

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