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May 22, 2013 at 12:18 PM

Freak May snow cancels school in small Washington town

BICKLETON, Klickitat County (AP) — A freak snowstorm in May gave students a surprise day off on Wednesday in the Cascades town of Bickleton.

Ten to 12 inches fell overnight within a 5- or 6-mile radius in the Klickitat County community at an elevation of about 3,000 feet.

“You go down the hill and get out of it,” schools Superintendent Ric Palmer said of the snow.

The heavy snow brought down tree branches on power lines, taking out electricity and phone service, Palmer said from home, where he was using generator power.

He said it was the lack of power at school rather than the snow that forced him to cancel classes. Still, it marked the first snow day of the school year, after only a few delays caused by snow during the winter.

“Yeah, they love it,” Palmer said about his students. He noted, however, that .they will have to make up the time before classes end next month.

About 170 students attend kindergarten through 12th grade in one building in Bickleton.

Utilities should be restored and classes were likely to resume on Thursday.

A recorded message about the freak snow on the school phone line had an incredulous tone: “I repeat it’s Wednesday, May 22, and we have had to cancel school.”

A couple of inches of snow also fell on 3,100-foot Satus Pass on Highway 97 between Goldendale and Toppenish, the sheriff’s office reported. But no significant problems were reported.

The Paradise ranger station at Mount Rainier recorded nearly a foot of snow overnight and the snow level dropped to near 2,000 feet, the National Weather Service said.

More mountain snow was expected on Thursday, forecasters said, but showers elsewhere should diminish and temperatures turn moderate through the Memorial Day weekend.

Comments | More in General news, Weather Beat | Topics: Bicklton, May, Wash. snow

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