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Storm so bad, The Pas closes schools for first time in 30 years

Colin Corneau / Brandon Sun</p><p>A storm Monday and Tuesday closed highways throughout the province and led to the first closure of schools in The Pas in three decades. </p>

Colin Corneau / Brandon Sun

A storm Monday and Tuesday closed highways throughout the province and led to the first closure of schools in The Pas in three decades.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 7/3/2017 (594 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Kelsey School Division in northern Manitoba closed its five schools for the first time in 30 years due to blizzard conditions Tuesday.

Located in The Pas about 625 kilometres north of Winnipeg, Kelsey School division serves 1,600 students.

Northern folks can power through just about any weather and there have been plenty of winter storms over the years, but this one has distinguished itself with its duration and intensity, said superintendent Julia McKay.

She said safety of students, staff and their families was behind the historic closure of École Opasquia School, Kelsey Community School, Margaret Barbour Collegiate Institute, Mary Duncan School and Scott Bateman Middle School.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 7/3/2017 (594 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Kelsey School Division in northern Manitoba closed its five schools for the first time in 30 years due to blizzard conditions Tuesday.

Located in The Pas about 625 kilometres north of Winnipeg, Kelsey School division serves 1,600 students.

Northern folks can power through just about any weather and there have been plenty of winter storms over the years, but this one has distinguished itself with its duration and intensity, said superintendent Julia McKay.

She said safety of students, staff and their families was behind the historic closure of École Opasquia School, Kelsey Community School, Margaret Barbour Collegiate Institute, Mary Duncan School and Scott Bateman Middle School.

"We don't normally close schools because we worry about students showing up and if the schools are locked, where do they go? So it's always been a policy that we keep the schools open, but when the storm hit yesterday (Monday), we realized that just wasn't going to work," she said, noting its been about 30 years since the school division closed all of its schools due to inclement winter weather.

McKay said the storm started Sunday night, but buses were still able to run Monday morning and schools operated normally. By Monday afternoon, it was a different story.

"By lunch time, it was so bad that we sent the buses out to take the students home and made the decision, that yes, we weren't going to be open today. Considering our highways are all closed, it was a good call," she said in a telephone interview.

"Our driving force was the fact that we wanted to make sure that everybody stayed safe. We thought that this was too risky."

Tuesday afternoon, McKay confirmed the schools would be closed again Wednesday.

While inclement winter weather is part of living in Manitoba's northern communities, McKay said The Pas seldom gets the weather definition of a blizzard.

Environment Canada had continued its blizzard warning for The Pas and surrounding area Tuesday and into Wednesday. Overnight, a snowfall amount of about two centimetres was expected along with blowing snow and whiteout conditions with winds from the northwest at 50 km/h gusting to 70 km/h.

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca

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History

Updated on Tuesday, March 7, 2017 at 4:15 PM CST: adds wednesday closure

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