Hamilton County: why salt, dismiss school early? - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Hamilton County weighs forewarning, second-guessing when dismissing school early

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HAMILTON COUNTY, TN. (WRCB) -- Bundled and huddled, the K-5th graders are more than ready to get out of Red Bank Elementary an hour-and-a-half early Thursday.

If only parents could say the same, while waiting to pick up students at Red Bank High School.

"When I pick up my (freshman) daughter, I'm heading back to work," Pat Weaver says.

"I don't see why we're doing it now," says Don Durham, parent of a senior. "I don't expect any bad weather."

All about beating the changeover to snow, Hamilton County Schools Assistant Dr. Lee McDade says.

"It takes us about three hours to get kids and buses home. We would try to have everybody home safe by 3 o'clock."

Hamilton County's 'Connect-Ed' texting system would deliver the early dismissal notice before noon: High School and Middle Schools out at 1PM, magnets and elementary schools releasing students at 1:30PM.

Whether parents and students were prepared, is open to interpretation.

Being 'fashion forward' and coatless means that Red Bank Junior Brittany Russell is shivering.

"I'm sorry to be missing a basketball game," she says. "But I'd rather be in my house in my warm bed than at school, blown away by the wind."

Gusts would top 40 miles per hour Thursday afternoon, WRCB-TV Chief Meteorologist Paul Barys confirms. The wind chill would drop the 'feels like' temperature to below freezing.

Still, hundreds of Red Bank High School students would trudge or run to their buses or cars without coats or sweaters.

TDOT, however, would be all about 'preparation,' according to Ken Flynn, Region 2's Operations Manager.

"Because of all the rain we've had, we really can't use our brine and be as effective as we'd like it for it to be," Flynn says.

"We've plenty of salt. Snow was a no-show last Winter."

Region 2 covers 24 Tennessee Counties. Eight trucks would leave the Cromwell Road facility shortly after noon Thursday; the length of their workday defined only as 'until it's done.'
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