Chris Starace works to clear snow from his roof in Ossining, New York, on Thursday, February 13.Chris Starace works to clear snow from his roof in Ossining, New York, on Thursday, February 13.

People walk through the snow on February 13 in Brooklyn, New York.People walk through the snow on February 13 in Brooklyn, New York.

The lower Manhattan skyline seen behind a pile of snow in Brooklyn on February 13.The lower Manhattan skyline seen behind a pile of snow in Brooklyn on February 13.

Snow covers cars in Brooklyn on February 13.Snow covers cars in Brooklyn on February 13.

Claire Lamborne removes snow from her car on February 13 in Warrenton, Virginia.Claire Lamborne removes snow from her car on February 13 in Warrenton, Virginia.

A snowman is seen in front of a hardware store in Washington on February 13.A snowman is seen in front of a hardware store in Washington on February 13.

Don Hammond of Newtown shovels his driveway as snow continues to fall in Connecticut on February 13. Don Hammond of Newtown shovels his driveway as snow continues to fall in Connecticut on February 13.

A long line of travelers winds around the atrium of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on February 13 as people attempt to catch flights previously canceled because of the massive winter storm. A long line of travelers winds around the atrium of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on February 13 as people attempt to catch flights previously canceled because of the massive winter storm.

Rescue workers in Oxon Hill, Maryland, attempt to upright an overturned tractor-trailer on Interstate 495 on February 13.Rescue workers in Oxon Hill, Maryland, attempt to upright an overturned tractor-trailer on Interstate 495 on February 13.

Snow collects at the base of escalators at the Dupont Circle Metro Station in Washington on February 13.Snow collects at the base of escalators at the Dupont Circle Metro Station in Washington on February 13.

A postal worker makes his delivery rounds through blizzard conditions in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, on February 13.A postal worker makes his delivery rounds through blizzard conditions in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, on February 13.

Motorists push a vehicle on Highway 70 in Raleigh, North Carolina, on February 13, a day after the worst of the storm struck the town.Motorists push a vehicle on Highway 70 in Raleigh, North Carolina, on February 13, a day after the worst of the storm struck the town.

A man helps push a car in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, on February 13.A man helps push a car in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, on February 13.

Snow blankets a street in Ossining, New York, on February 13.Snow blankets a street in Ossining, New York, on February 13.

A traveler kills time as work crews continue to clear snow from the runways at Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, on February 13.A traveler kills time as work crews continue to clear snow from the runways at Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, on February 13.

A man in Bethlehem helps push a stranded motorist February 13.A man in Bethlehem helps push a stranded motorist February 13.

Lyall MacFee shovels snow in front of Sciortino's Pizzeria in Albany, New York, on February 13.Lyall MacFee shovels snow in front of Sciortino's Pizzeria in Albany, New York, on February 13.

A man digs out a small snowplow that got stuck while clearing snow from a sidewalk in Chevy Chase, Maryland, on February 13.A man digs out a small snowplow that got stuck while clearing snow from a sidewalk in Chevy Chase, Maryland, on February 13.

A man braces his umbrella while walking through the wind and snow in New York City on February 13.A man braces his umbrella while walking through the wind and snow in New York City on February 13.

Police work to tow a bus that slid off the road in Philadelphia on February 13.Police work to tow a bus that slid off the road in Philadelphia on February 13.

A man walks along the snow-covered Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington on February 13.A man walks along the snow-covered Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington on February 13.

A woman covers her face while walking in New York City on February 13.A woman covers her face while walking in New York City on February 13.

A worker clears a snowy sidewalk in Washington on February 13.A worker clears a snowy sidewalk in Washington on February 13.

Cars sit covered in snow on a street in Manassas, Virginia, on February 13.Cars sit covered in snow on a street in Manassas, Virginia, on February 13.

A man in Philadelphia shields his face from the elements February 13.A man in Philadelphia shields his face from the elements February 13.

A snowplow removes snow from the sidewalk in Washington's Lafayette Park, across the street from the White House, on February 13.A snowplow removes snow from the sidewalk in Washington's Lafayette Park, across the street from the White House, on February 13.

People walk through snow February 13 in the Chinatown neighborhood of New York City.People walk through snow February 13 in the Chinatown neighborhood of New York City.

People help push a car stuck in the snow February 13 in Alexandria, Virginia.People help push a car stuck in the snow February 13 in Alexandria, Virginia.

Kevin Miller looks out the passenger window of his friend's car as they sit stuck in traffic during a winter storm in Raleigh on Wednesday, February 12.Kevin Miller looks out the passenger window of his friend's car as they sit stuck in traffic during a winter storm in Raleigh on Wednesday, February 12.

Traffic moves slowly along Wade Avenue in Raleigh on February 12. Motorists were encouraged to stay off roads.Traffic moves slowly along Wade Avenue in Raleigh on February 12. Motorists were encouraged to stay off roads.

Katharine Newton, a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, calls her parents February 12 while walking more than two miles from campus to her parents' home.Katharine Newton, a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, calls her parents February 12 while walking more than two miles from campus to her parents' home.

Snowplows clear Interstate 75/85 in downtown Atlanta on February 12.Snowplows clear Interstate 75/85 in downtown Atlanta on February 12.

A downed power line is draped across several vehicles in Atlanta on February 12.A downed power line is draped across several vehicles in Atlanta on February 12.

A police officer redirects traffic in Charlotte, North Carolina, on February 12.A police officer redirects traffic in Charlotte, North Carolina, on February 12.

Ice coats trees hanging over a sign for the Broadway at the Beach tourist attraction in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, on February 12.Ice coats trees hanging over a sign for the Broadway at the Beach tourist attraction in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, on February 12.

A sign warns drivers of winter weather as they travel on a bleak section of Highway 141 in Norcross, Georgia, on February 12.A sign warns drivers of winter weather as they travel on a bleak section of Highway 141 in Norcross, Georgia, on February 12.

A truck in Bossier City, Louisiana, blocks access to Interstate 220, which was closed because of icy conditions on February 12.A truck in Bossier City, Louisiana, blocks access to Interstate 220, which was closed because of icy conditions on February 12.

City workers spread a mixture of sand and salt on an intersection in Avondale Estates, Georgia, on February 12.City workers spread a mixture of sand and salt on an intersection in Avondale Estates, Georgia, on February 12.

Ice and snow cover Interstate 26 in Columbia, South Carolina, on February 12.Ice and snow cover Interstate 26 in Columbia, South Carolina, on February 12.

Shmetrice Moore, a nurse at an Emory University hospital in Johns Creek, Georgia, scrapes snow and ice off her windshield as she and others are released early from their shift on February 12.Shmetrice Moore, a nurse at an Emory University hospital in Johns Creek, Georgia, scrapes snow and ice off her windshield as she and others are released early from their shift on February 12.

Hossam Shalaby waits for his rescheduled flight under a departure board at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on Tuesday, February 11.Hossam Shalaby waits for his rescheduled flight under a departure board at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on Tuesday, February 11.

A vehicle travels in Greenville, South Carolina, on February 11.A vehicle travels in Greenville, South Carolina, on February 11.

People shop for what is left at a Publix grocery store in Decatur, Georgia, on February 11.People shop for what is left at a Publix grocery store in Decatur, Georgia, on February 11.

Vehicles slowly make their way over a snow-covered Route 35 in Fort Payne, Alabama, on February 11.Vehicles slowly make their way over a snow-covered Route 35 in Fort Payne, Alabama, on February 11.

Weather data is projected onto the face of Clint Perkins, director of state operations for the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, as he works in Atlanta on February 11.Weather data is projected onto the face of Clint Perkins, director of state operations for the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, as he works in Atlanta on February 11.

A vehicle drives through falling snow on the U.S. 421 bypass in Sanford, North Carolina, on February 11.A vehicle drives through falling snow on the U.S. 421 bypass in Sanford, North Carolina, on February 11.








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  • Errol Louis says de Blasio, Roker both correct in dustup over closing schools

  • He says mayor angered Roker by erroneously blaming weather service for incorrect forecast

  • He says many kids need hot meals school provide; snow days cut into school calendar

  • Louis: Roker right, but deBlasio had tough choice; as winter wears on, expect more caution




Editor's note: Errol Louis is the host of "Inside City Hall," a nightly political show on NY1, a New York all-news channel.


(CNN) -- The high-profile public spat between New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and weather forecaster Al Roker over how to handle a big winter storm was bound to turn nasty, because both men were, in a sense, correct.


De Blasio enraged thousands of parents -- including Roker -- by keeping schools open through a storm that dumped 11 inches of snow on the city. The mayor made matters worse by appearing to blame the unpopular decision on the National Weather Service, claiming that its forecasts before the storm were inaccurate (they weren't).



Errol Louis


And de Blasio's schools chancellor, Carmen Farina, added fuel to the fire by cheerfully referring to "absolutely a beautiful day out there" in the snow-paralyzed city.


Roker's flurry of tweets, castigating the administration and predicting a single term for de Blasio, channeled the anger felt by thousands of parents. In fact, most city parents kept their kids home, and many of them posted angry notes on the education department's Facebook page.


There's no question de Blasio mishandled the politics of the situation -- it was easy to show that the weather service and local meterologists had all predicted a big storm -- but the mayor could have defused much of the anger by pointing out that the schools, for New York's poor families, are a place where kids can get a free meal each day.


De Blasio also deserves sympathy points for managing New York's screwy calendar, which accommodates so many ethnic and religious holidays that the city has only three snow days, after which it runs the risk of falling below the minimum 180 school days per year required under state law.





Was Al Roker right about NYC schools?




Al Roker blasts de Blasio on Twitter




Kohn: Roker stuck shovel where it doesn't belong

Although no fewer than six winter storms have hit the city since he took office, de Blasio has already called one snow day (less than nearby suburban jurisidictions, which have closed schools four times this season), leaving him with a powerful incentive to keep the schools open even on a day with crummy weather. The alternative would be to extend the school year into the summer or cut into spring break or other popular holidays.


So the mayor, caught between a rock and a hard place, chose to feed low-income New Yorkers and avoided tampering with the spring and summer vacation plans of students' families. And he had to make the call about 10:30 the night before the storm, because it takes hours to shut down a public system that serves more than a million kids.


But Roker, the legendary weather forecaster, was also right to complain that meteorologists from the National Weather Service and local stations have given accurate storm information to cities and states, only to see the information ignored, second-guessed or misinterpreted. Only a few weeks ago, Roker publicly went after Georgia officials, including Gov. Nathan Deal and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, for not properly preparing state highways for a winter storm that was accurately forecast. The result was life-threatening chaos.


"This was poor planning on the mayor's part and the governor's part, pure and simple," Roker said. "They were warned about it. They should have been prepared for it. And people are still suffering."


De Blasio's blown call won't be the last time officials catch hell from meteorologists, although it seems clear politicians will take greater care to err on the side of caution as the nation slouches through a winter season that we'd all like to put in the rear-view mirror.


Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.


Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion.


The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Errol Louis.



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