Football season's over and baseball spring training games often don't rise to the level being topic for casual conversation, so last week's big snow that wasn't quickly became fodder for plenty of commentary at many levels.

A major target when stormy weather hits is the leadership of the local public school system, which made the call before 6 a.m. to close schools last Wednesday, thus keeping buses packed with children off potentially dangerous roads.


It was an understandable call. While parts of Harford County in the early morning hours were more soaked by rain than snowed in, there was snow on the ground before sunup, albeit largely north of I-95. Importantly, the weather forecast was for a lot more snow and, if not snow, ice.

The storm was even given a name, though that name wasn't bestowed like the names of tropical storms by the National Weather Service; instead the Weather Channel, that mainstay of basic cable, has taken to christening what it identifies as major winter storms.

And the named storm had left some havoc in its wake in the Midwest.

There were reasons to be concerned and when the forecast turned out to be right about snow in the morning, there was no reason to presume it would be wrong about more snow and ice in the afternoon.

As it turned out, the forecast for Harford County and the greater Baltimore area was off by a few degrees, just enough to make it an early spring cold rain rather than a late winter blizzard.

The key temperature divide, as it turns out, was more where the piedmont gives way to the Appalachians, rather than where the coastal plain rises to the piedmont, and counties to the west got a blast of winter.

So sure, it is plenty easy to second guess the school system for canceling classes last Wednesday, but given the unknowns involved, it was an understandable decision, and can be chalked up to being an error on the side of safety.

Had the call to close schools gone the other way, and the forecast been spot on, the result could have been tragic.