Heavy fog slows drivers, prompts school delays, then closings

By Cory Smith • Last Updated 8:39 am on Friday, March 16, 2012

Dense fog throughout the area lead to several school closings this morning.

Belding, Central Montcalm and Greenville public schools all closed for the day after heavy fog rolled in throughout West Michigan this morning.

The National Weather Service said visibility was “reduced to nearly nothing” in certain places this morning. Dense fog advisories were in effect for West Michigan until 11 a.m.

Greenville Superintendent Peter Haines said the decision to close schools for the day was not an easy one to make.

“We have to make our calls for the start of the day by 5:15 to 5:30 a.m.,” he said. “We called a two-hour delay in hopes that things would be better by 7:30, but they weren’t.”

Haines said he understands these decisions affect the families of every student in the school system, making the decision to close schools even harder.

“We don’t like to (call two-hour delays) unless we have a pretty good feeling the fog is going to lift,” he said. “Some broadcasters thought it would lift and some thought the fog would last until mid-day. We reevaluated at 7:15 a.m. and the fog was actually worse, so we had to close the schools. It didn’t work out for us today. It’s a hardship on families. First you get a delay and you have to adjust your day, then you see a cancellation and have to adjust again.”

Undersheriff Mark Bellinger with the Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office said there were no accidents as of 8:30 this morning, but advised caution when traveling on the roadways.

“These are rare situations where the fog is as dense as it is,” he said. “We encourage drivers to allow extra time to get to work. Keep your headlights on even though its in the daytime. Stay under the speed limit and use common sense.”

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