AMES, Iowa — Iowa winters always have cold and snow. But Missy Sanow said that she usually has to make a decision about it the night before it hits or perhaps not until early in the morning on the day that the storm arrives.

Tuesday, the executive director of Ames Community Preschool Center made a rare decision: She would close the center Thursday and give families two days’ notice.

“Children always come first and so we have to make those decisions. Not easy,” said Sanow, “And not always supported by everyone. But we do what’s best.”

The center has 60 staff and 300 children, Sanow said.

Sanow acknowledged that closing an extra day (the center was already closed for the holiday break on Friday) would be a hardship for some families. “My goal was to give them as much time as possible to make their decisions. I know that with the upcoming holidays, it’s a challenge,” she said.

The situation is rather unique, as well. She doesn’t usually make the decision to close so early. But with blizzard-like conditions expected Thursday morning and wind chills around 40 below zero, Sanow said the situation merited quick action.

“I’ve been working in child care for 20 years. If we close once a year, that’s a lot. This time, though, I couldn’t take chances. With the negative wind chills and the blowing snow…I’m just not comfortable taking those chances for the children.”