How Much Snow Does It Take To Trigger A School Snow Day Where You Live?

A lot of kids got a school snow day earlier this month, often more than one, and it had some people scratching their heads. Sure, it was really cold, but there wasn’t really a lot of snow in many places. Did schools really need to be closed? Is this costing us too much in lost time and tax dollars?

I suspect that question has a lot of different answers (I’m mostly ambivalent to it myself), but the map above created by Redditor atrubetskoy shows how much snow it takes, on average, to close schools in a given county.

In the central, northern parts of the country it takes a lot of snow to cancel schools. On the coasts, and in the southern part of the country, it takes a lot less.

Here are some specifics on how the map was made from the creator:

  1. In much of the Midwest and Great Plains, school closing often depends more on wind chill and temperature than on snow accumulation (“cold days”). Thus, this map may be misleading in those areas.
  2. Many jurisdictions in California and other western states have significantly varied snowfall, depending on elevation. This makes it difficult to find an “average” number, or often makes it misleading.
  3. Urban areas like Chicago and New York have more resources to clear snow and often need more to cause closings.
  4. Clarification: The lightest green says “any snow” but also includes merely the prediction of snow.
  5. Clarification II: This is snow accumulation over 24 hours/overnight.
  6. Hawaii does get snow! Just… not where people live.
  7. Data was taken from hundreds of various points from user responses and interpolated using NOAA’s average annual snowfall days map. Any corrections/additions are welcome, just give a decently specific location.

So what do you think?

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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