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U.S. map showing amount of snow needed to cancel school by county

January 30, 2014 | By Abraham | 34 comments

Given the recent wintery weather in places like Texas and Alabama, along with much of the rest of the southeastern United States, the issue of school cancellation due to snow has been of particular interest lately.

While many people are simply gawking at or mocking the response to the cold in the south (ourselves included, admittedly), Redditor A. Trubetskoy actually took the time to make a genuine contribution to the conversation.

Gathering data from various local news outlets, City-data.com, and maps from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, he created a map of the U.S. showing by county the amount of snow generally required to call off school…

Snow Cancellation Map

Check out a larger version.

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34 Comments

  1. Jenn says:

    There should be another one below “Any Snow”, it should be “Because They Think It Might Snow”. Our county in East Tennessee would be lit up for that one.

  2. Johnny says:

    This map is wrong. If it where correct what happened in Atlanta would not have happened since school would have been closed with “any snow”. Instead they closed the school with the 1-3 inches they got. Also you’re mocking them the way the south mocked the Category 1 Hurricane Sandy.

    1. Jane says:

      Might want to check some facts. Sandy was a Category 3 hurricane, and 285 people died. (As compared to ~13 in the south.) They are completely different events. It’s pretty disturbing news to me that people in the south mocked the destruction and suffering that was felt during hurricane Sandy.

      1. Jawan says:

        Life is life, whether is was 285 or 13. I think what is at the heart of this “so called debate” is that we are prideful people, intent on comparing experiences and claiming “ours was the worst”. Neither area, the south or the north, was prepared for what happened and they were both devastating in various ways. No one is trying to diminish what the other went through and if any southerner mocked SANDY then they were wrong, just as any northerner is wrong for mocking the icy roads and children who spent the night away from parents in Atlanta/Birmingham. Praying for compassion in my own heart.

        1. NurseSuzyQ says:

          Yes, but please remember the south is not prepared for the snow like up north and also they usually get more ice than snow and that’s quite dangerous !!!

    2. N says:

      Sandy was more than just a hurricane. It caused a blizzard over West Virginia. I was without electricity for 14 days and trapped in my house for over a week. All of my refrigerated food went bad (can’t put it out in the snow, I live next to the forest) and my heater stopped working. I had no cellphone service and many roads are STILL blocked by trees. So….yeah, that was a little more intense than you think.

    3. Alex says:

      not sure why anyone brought up hurricanes. the idea is the south are pussies when it comes to cold weather. (that should be end of story) when serious things like hurricanes come up, us northerners are all very glad we don’t have to deal with it. dont be so offended by your intolerance to cold temperature that you bring up serious events. you’re like the person that brings a machette to cut butter

      1. Suzan D Reed says:

        It’s not the cold, it gets very cold in the desert Southwest (below freezing happens quite often), but snow is RARE here. Clark County NV has 4 snow plows for more than 8000 square miles. But the thing is, snow in the Las Vegas Valley (average ele 2000′ above sea level) is very rare, so when it does snow on the ground, especially if it is followed by a deep freeze, it shuts us down for transportation. I figure much of the South East may be the same. And it’s not that we are under prepared for snow removal equipment, it’s just that the equipment is in place where it does snow in the winter, our mountains.

  3. Jawan says:

    The death toll is 13 in the south due to the icy roads and low temps. I hardly think that is something to laugh about.

    1. JM says:

      Traffic related accidents? if so thats on the individuals who decided to take on the snow without experience driving in it, i have a Mustang gt and i know the limits of my vehicle and my own risk management comes into factor. If they went out and caused an accident….their fault not the snow.

  4. Mr N Cog Nito says:

    This is BS. I can assure you we don’t close for “any snow” in Southeast MO. I’ve lived here my entire life.

    1. Carr says:

      Well, well, Mr N Cog Nito, nice to meet a neighbor on the wide spaces of the internet. Scott County (flatland) man, myself, and I can promise that our snow days are few and far between whereas if you go west along Hwy 60 where the hills start in Poplar Bluff, they do indeed close for next to nothing. The map is backward on that.

  5. Erin says:

    I live in Atlanta, and part of the problem was that we didn’t cancel school in advance of snowfall. Most schools were in session for at least half the day. I hesitate to say this because I think it should be obvious, and, you know, I wouldn’t want to insult your intelligence, but here goes: We don’t get enough snow to justify the required infrastructure it would take to keep the cities running at full pace or to have to supposed level of expertise that drivers in snowier areas gain from experience (not innate intelligence). Our general reaction to snow (or likely threat of snow) should be to close schools, businesses, etc.
    I’ve come to expect broader-thinking pieces than this from this site.

  6. MIkeK says:

    I live in one of your 24″ zones. This is clearly BS. I have three kids in school and school has closed for 6-10 inches of snow. It’s closed for 4″ of blowing snow. I don’t know where underlying data came from but this map is seriously flawed.

  7. Megan says:

    Jeez people, get a sense of humor. Maps like these are created based on the fact that people freak out over sometimes minute climate changes. North Dakota doesn’t always cancel schools with 2 feet of snow, but we don’t sit and b*tch about the inacurrate statistics of our area because it’s a general assumption of the rest of the US to think that it’s always cold in ND. Get over yourselves Atlanta, not everything is about you.

    1. GA girl says:

      As a lifelong Georgia resident, I can assure you that Atlanta residents do, in fact, think everything is about them. They have no clue what’s outside the boundaries of I-285, aka “the Perimeter.”

  8. Monk says:

    I actually think the basics of the map are pretty acurate. While they may not cancel school or close the city with more than that snow they also might do it with less.

    I grew up in a 12″ city, and actually knew some of the inner workings. It was based on how much more was expected. How much snow would be cleared and how much would be left on the roads. Take that into account with how many people were expected on the roads. So it’s not just about how much snow is sitting there.

  9. John L says:

    It’s interesting how the state of Oregon has such a variety of policies between counties on the determination of whether or not school should be cancelled. You’d think, since it’s in the northwest, the state would be generally one color.

  10. Trina says:

    In the Twin Cities (Minneapolis / St Paul MN) it’s not solely the amount of snowfall, that determines closures, it’s a combination of snowfall amount, snowfall type (ie light fluffy powder to thick, heavy wet snow) , TIMING of snowfall, with moderate to very windy conditions. along with windchill factors ALL play a part in if there’s gonna be a HUGE disruption or something miniscule.

    Best “advise”, Listen to your experts, (=state= DOT, local weather office, and in some cases, local law inforcement for the most accurate and up-to-date info.)

    Safety is the #1 priority! :)

  11. Coleen says:

    Jawan is correct, the issue is that in both the cases of this current storm and Sandy, the areas were unprepared for the conditions. Sandy also caused an entired neighborhood to burn down. But, again, that is irrelavent. It’s the lack of preparation. Here in the north we have salt, truck to spread it, brine, plows, etc. Imagine what our roads would look like without all of that. Now, the other issue was that they were not forewarned either. The weather forecasters did not see that storm coming. So everybody was going about their day. Kids were in schools, people were in stores, on roads, in work, etc. If an ice storm was about to hit Philly, schools would be shut or let out early, people would go home early or work at home, brine would be put on th roads to prevent them from freezing and basically we would hunker down. Thereby, the roads would be empty and all of those accidents would never happen.

  12. felicianomiko says:

    Assure you that in central Illinois, you need more than 3″ of snow to cancel school. We used to have 6′ drifts and still had snow. You can’t see the road 90% of the time no matter how much or little snow there is on the ground because of the constant wind.

  13. Christy says:

    I don’t mind if people make fun of us in the south for our inability to handle snow and ice- we only have to deal with cold weather for a handful of days so it’s worth the trade off. I laugh at my northern friends who think 92 degrees is a heatwave so it all evens out :) besides, no one ever retires and moves north, so we must have something going for us.

  14. randomperson says:

    I have grown up with never having any school cancelled due to snow. There were times when it would be whiteout conditions with fairly strong winds, power outages in some cities and school would still not be cancelled.

    So from my perspective of being you know a tough mountaineer growing up on the foothills of the mountains, I sometimes think the south is overreacting slightly. In my mind, I’m going why don’t you grab a coat and bring on the four wheel drive it’s just four inches of snow it’s not the worst thing to happen to you.

    Then again, I might react the same way if a category 6 hurricane decided to rip my city to shreds which would totally be unnatural.

  15. Scott says:

    I grew up in Montana and never once had school called off. Then moved to Northeast Ohio.they called off from time to time but still not often. Now live in Central Ohio. They call off significantly more often.

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