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Honestly Speaking with Dr. Barbara Fuchs

January 10, 2011

The Unpredictability of the Weather and Its Forecasting

Dear Putnam Valley Community,

"The trouble with weather forecasting is that it's right too often for us to ignore it and wrong too often for us to rely on it." Patrick Young

As you know, this past Friday, I closed our schools by 5:00 AM due to the impending winter storm. This unanticipated closure is yet another example of the unpredictability of weather forecasting. As late as Thursday evening, meteorologists informed me that the storm would intensify by 3:00 PM. Prior to 3:00 PM, the predictions were for wet snow, accumulating up to one inch. I left our district on Thursday evening believing that I would make the decision on Friday morning to conduct on early dismissal on Friday afternoon.

At 4:30 AM Friday, meteorologists notified me that the storm would intensify earlier than as originally forecasted. I was told that by 12:00 PM, there would be four inches of snow on the ground and another three inches by 3:00 PM. With that new information, speaking to our head bus driver, Mike Koenig, along with several Superintendents in the Putnam area, we decided to close our school districts.

I have heard that there is another storm possibility for this Tuesday evening through Wednesday. I will closely monitor this potential new storm, but with the unpredictability of the weather along with its forecasting, I will most probably have to wait until hours before the start of school to decide on either a normal school day, delayed opening, early dismissal or closure. Please note that these are very difficult resolutions to determine. I always try to make decisions based on concrete, reliable data. In this area, it is virtually impossible to be decisive because of often conflicting and constantly changing information. Please continue to note that I will make these determinations based on the safety of our students and staff.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns about this correspondence or other issues within our school district, please contact me at anytime.


Dr. Barbara Fuchs

Putnam Valley Central School District, 146 Peekskill Hollow Road, Putnam Valley, NY 10579
Phone (845) 528-8143, Fax (845) 528-0274