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School Snow Days Likely Greater This Year

A weak El Nino could bring larger snowfall amounts to Connecticut this year.

Back to school is looming with three weeks from today on Aug. 29, but during 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 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.

With the mild winter of 2011-2012, which saw low snowfall amounts across the state, few districts canceled school because of snow including Branford who had one snow day during the winter season.

They probably will this year, meteorologists say.

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.

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In preparation for the coming year and the potential of missed days in mind, 's school calendar was set last spring with a start date of Aug. 29 and a tentative last day scheduled for Monday, June 12, 2013. This year there will be no , an omission that was introduced last winter. 

Having no long winter recess puts Branford's tentative last day of school five days before most other schools in the area including North Branford who has a tentative last day of school on June 17. 

Schools Superintendent Hamlet Hernandez presented the idea to drop February break  to snow . Should this winter bring similar conditions, Hernandez's plan to have extra days at the end of the year will keep students from being forced to attend school late into the summer. 

This year students will have a holiday recess (Dec. 24-31), winter recess (Feb. 19) and spring recess (April 15-19). Any days needed to be made up would be added to the end of the school year and if need be, taken from April vacation. The state stipulates that students must complete 900 hours of school instruction (450 hours for kindergarten).  Full school calendar attached.

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 , which hit in late August last year, cutting power to about 800,000 across the state and , some by nearly a week.

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

What are your thoughts about potential snow days? Are you excited for this coming winter?

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