Area students love snow days

Friday’s snow day may have been old hat for students who have spent their lives in the Mid-Ohio Valley, but it was a brand-new experience for 16-year-old Hassan Marafie.

“I’ve seen snow before, but I’ve never seen it snowing,” said the student from Kuwait, attending Circleville High School this year through American Field Service, the country’s oldest student exchange organization. “We don’t get any snow in Kuwait.”

The prospect of a couple inches of snow on top of Thursday’s snowfall led school districts throughout Washington County to close for the day. That disrupted plans made for the AFS winter orientation, which brought 37 foreign exchange students staying around the region to Marietta for the weekend.

“I was worried the snow day might be a problem, but it turned out to be something awesome,” said Monica George, 17, the president of Marietta High School’s AFS Club.

The exchange students had been scheduled to visit and interact with students at Marietta and Parkersburg South high schools and Williamstown and Kanawha elementaries, but with classes canceled, George, Marafie and students from Italy, Thailand and Germany took advantage of the inch-and-a-half of snow that fell and went sledding in Reno instead.

“I liked this much better. I loved this,” said Luca Bravin, 18, from the Italian island of Sardinia.

Bravin had been sledding before when he was younger, but it doesn’t snow where he’s from. Friday was Marafie’s first experience with sledding – as well as playing the party game Apples to Apples and the video game Rock Band.

The weather wasn’t all fun and games for residents of the Valley, with local law enforcement reporting several minor crashes as a result of slick conditions.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office raised the snow advisory Friday afternoon from a level one to a level two, advising people who didn’t have to be on the roads to stay home.

The snow started in Marietta later in the morning, and didn’t reach the New Matamoras area until early afternoon. Calvin Becker, Washington County highway superintendent, said he thinks the timing of this storm made dealing with it easier.

“The timing seemed to be good for us because there weren’t as many people on the roads,” Becker said. “We were waiting for it and able to get out there and treat the roads.”

Marietta resident Elfrieda Ratzlaff and her husband Richard weren’t bothered by the amount of snow from Friday’s storm.

“We are originally from Montreal so this isn’t much snow for us,” Ratzlaff said.

Snow remains in the forecast, but there is only a 30 percent chance of snow Saturday afternoon and a 30 percent chance Sunday evening before temperatures warm up, according to the National Weather Service.

Becker did advise people who will be driving in situations such as this to be cautious.

“It’s really the same old thing, make sure you leave a few minutes earlier, keep more distance between other vehicles and drive a little slower,” Becker said. “Four-wheel drive helps but it isn’t always the answer in poor conditions.”