Winter storm: Christmas break begins early as schools closed Friday

Winter storm: Christmas break begins early as schools closed Friday

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Thousands of pupils in the London area will have an early start to the Christmas holidays as the area’s two major school boards decided to close schools on Friday when a storm with snow, high winds and freezing temperatures is expected.

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Both the Thames Valley and London District Catholic Education Boards announced on Thursday afternoon that schools would be closing, adding an extra day to the two-week holiday break.

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“The safety of all students, staff and community members is a priority,” the Thames Valley board said in a statement.

Schools will not offer distance learning, and childcare centers and before- and after-school programs will also be closed, the board said.

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“This decision was made early to give families time to prepare and, above all, in the best interests of everyone’s safety,” the London District Catholic Schools Board said in a statement.

That The Conseil scolaire catholique Providence and the Huron-Perth Catholic District Education Board also closed schools on Friday.

Earlier Thursday, Environment Canada issued a winter storm warning covering the London area and the rest of the province.

A severe winter storm is expected to start Friday morning and continue through Saturday, making travel dangerous, the agency said.

Between two and six inches of snow is expected to fall in London and Middlesex County by Saturday morning.

Wind gusts of up to 90 kilometers per hour cause snowfalls and temporarily reduce visibility to almost zero.

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Friday’s temperature is expected to drop to -12C, but with the wind chill it will feel like -25C, Environment Canada said.

“Consider postponing non-essential travel until conditions improve. Visibility is suddenly reduced to almost zero at times during heavy snowfall and blowing snow,” the agency said.

Cold temperatures will continue through Boxing Day, with highs of -7 to -11°C.

Elgin County, Windsor, Essex, Chatham-Kent, Sarnia-Lambton and Oxford County are all under a winter storm warning.

Huron, Perth, Gray and Bruce counties are all under blizzard warnings. Wind gusts of up to 100 km/h and up to 50 centimeters of snow are expected in these regions, Environment Canada said.

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The Middlesex-London Health Unit issued a cold weather warning for Friday and Saturday due to wind chills of -25C on Friday.

The City of London will open daytime heat centers at the Stronach, Medway and Earl Nichols arenas on Friday. The London Public Library branches are another option for Londoners looking to escape the cold, the city said.

Fanshawe College said all of its campuses will close at noon on Friday. The college said it will continue to serve students remotely until 4:30 p.m


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