Jan. 20—MORGANTOWN — Presenting the latest inductees to the Monongalia County Winter-Sideways-Driving Hall of Fame:
Lazelle School Road, Beulah Road and Pixler Hill Road.
Sandbank Road and Nicholson Loop, too.
Not to mention Breakiron Road, Pounds Hollow Road and Hildebrand Lock and Dam Road, to round it all out.
Actually, the above are the routes Monongalia County buses didn't run Wednesday morning—covered with ice and snow, as those switchback roadways were.
"Other than that, we did pretty well, " said Tony Harris, the transportation director of Mon County Schools.
Harris never wants to write off any bus route, if he can help it.
The above runs, he said, just weren't passable—not yet—on the return to school after Tuesday's snow day.
A cruise of the roads is always part of the decision-making process for the snow days and canceling bus runs for the day, the director said.
"We'll go out, " he said, "so we can get a sense of what's going on."
Constant monitoring of the weather reports and consults with the state Division of Highways are part of it, as well.
It's the mix that had him worried going into Wednesday evening, he said that afternoon.
Forecasters were predicting a wintry mix of rain and snow later that night, to go with a low of 20.
Which, Harris said, naturally increases the probability of black ice into this morning, at the time when those yellow buses will be transporting students.
"I'm worried about flash-freezing, " he said. "You're going to have rain on the road, and that's going to turn into black ice. And then you're going to have some snow on top of that."
Jan. 20's projected high of 27 won't be much warmer than that, with a low of 5 in the works after the sun goes down.
Which could possibly bring another snow day, Superintendent Eddie Campbell Jr. said earlier.
"We're going to have to wait and see, " Campbell said.
Harris knows all about that.
He drove a school bus for 20 years in Preston County before moving to Mon's district.
On one memorable afternoon, a winter storm slammed down—just as school was letting out.
That meant Harris and the other drivers had pulse rates going just like their windshield wipers.
"This thing came in with a vengeance, " he said.
"We had kids we had to get home. We were out on roads covered with 4-5 inches of snow, just like that, it was moving so fast. You can get into this stuff before you even know it."