Toby turns away from area, fourth Nor'Easter never materializes locally

School districts still forced to take back spring break days as M-W announces a change in the school calendar

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MONROE — Is someone messing with Mother Nature, or is Mother Nature just messing with us?

Threats of the fourth Nor'easter in the greater Monroe area in less than three weeks' time never fully materialized into any storm of consequence.

Forecasts for the Wednesday storm, called "Toby" by The Weather Channel, caused school districts to close, this time causing school attendance angst versus snow angst.

The Monroe-Woodbury School District had already advised parents that if a snow day were to be used on March 21, that would require the day to be "called back," on Monday, March 26, which is the first official day of spring break.

Already, Monday, April 2 - originally the very last day of spring break - was called back after the March 14 Nor'easter.

Teachers, parents and students wondered what would be, with calls and texts closing schools made at 5:30 a.m. due to the ominous forecast at the time.

Now a Superintendent's Conference DayHowever, at about 7:30 a.m., Monroe-Woodbury Superintendent Elsie Rodriguez emailed a letter to parents and guardians about a change of plans in the school calendar for March 26.

The district has now designated March 26 as a Superintendent's Conference Day. That means only staff have to report into school, to the particular delight of students and parents, especially those with spring break travel plans.

New York State law requires school to be officially in session for 180 days during the year. A Superintendent's Conference Day counts as an official day of school.

"Thank you for being patient and understanding as we have had to make some tough calls related to school closures, especially this month," Rodriguez wrote.

However, Tuxedo School District students will report into school on March 26 because that district was also closed on Wednesday.

Families were reminded of this possibility in a March 14 letter from Superintendent Nancy Teed.

'This event is completely unimpressive'Forecasters acknowledged that meteorological science is perfectly imperfect and Mother Nature is full of surprises, often times in the darkness of night.

Thursday morning, both school districts were on a two hour delay due to an overnight snowfall of about seven inches.

"By 9 p.m. the model I was following said there could be a couple inches of snow, after bedtime," the Facebook site "First Due Weather from the Compound reported. "I had doubts. I never anticipated the atmosphere would become completely saturated and produce snow at the surface, though the snow showers earlier were a signal. It appears heavier unanticipated snow bands set up to our east and pivoted westward over our area, generating snow."

But what happened to Toby?

"This event is completely unimpressive," FDW wrote during Wednesday afternoon, noting the upper low never developed to feed the event and the low moved due east, forward traveling just south of the benchmark. "I am conceding that our forecast went bust. The Nor’easter that never was for Orange County!"

- Nancy Kriz

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