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Snowy spat: Roker, NY mayor disagree on school closures

Feb. 13, 2014 at 4:21 PM ET

Al Roker; New York Mayor Bill de Blasio
NBC, AP
TODAY meteorologist Al Roker and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio aired differences of opinion on Thursday over New York City public school closures during a major snowstorm.

TODAY’s weather anchor Al Roker doesn’t think New York City schools should have stayed open during Thursday’s major snowstorm — and he took to Twitter to share his feelings about it.

In a series of tweets from Sochi, Roker wondered why schools weren’t closed for the day so kids could stay safely at home. “It’s going to take some kid or kids getting hurt before this goofball policy gets changed,” Roker wrote.

As the day — and the snowstorm — progressed, Roker tweeted about what was happening at his daughter’s New York City public school.

At a late-morning news conference, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio defended the decision to keep schools open.

“So many families depend on their schools as a place for their kids to be during the day, a safe place where they are not only are taught, they get nutrition and they are safe from the elements,” de Blasio said. “So many families have to go to work, the members of these families have to go to work, they do not have a choice, and they need a safe option for their kids.”

The mayor said National Weather Service predictions had led city officials to believe that the city would get as little as 3 inches of snow. The Mayor’s Office also tweeted about the issue.

New York City school attendance was at around 44 percent Thursday, down from the daily average of about 90 percent.

De Blasio responded to a question about Roker's criticism at Thursday’s press conference.

“I respect Al Roker a lot, watched him on TV for many, many years, it’s a different thing to run a city than to give the weather on TV,” de Blasio said.

“I respect all the meteorologists out there, but the one I respect the most is called the National Weather Service, and this did, and they just affirmed to us on the call before we came out to you, that this went faster and heavier than their projections last night.”

Roker took exception with the mayor’s reference to the National Weather Service.

But Roker did acknowledge that he’s not running the city.

TODAY's Willie Geist weighed in on the discussion from Sochi.


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