This Is How Much Snow It Takes to Shut Down Schools Across America

Some towns are just better equipped for snowfall than others. Where does yours stack up?

map-this-is-how-much-snow-it-takes-to-shut-down-schools-Sasha-TrubetskoyCourtesy Sasha Trubetskoy

While waking up to a fresh blanket of snow is lovely and magical, we all know the real question at hand: Is school canceled or not? And whether you’re rooting for a yes or a no, the answer has a lot to do with where you live.

Of course, some areas’ infrastructures are better equipped to deal with snow than others, and the decision to shut down typically depends more on safety than residents’ unwillingness to do a bit of shoveling.

Nonetheless, if you’d like to see how resilient your area is in the face of snow, Reditter atrubetskoy created this stunning visual using data taken from “hundreds of various points from user responses and interpolated using NOAA’s average annual snowfall days map.” He also invited Reditters to submit their own data and corrections, so long as they provided a “decently specific location.”

He included the following clarifications about the map and his processes:

1. The lightest green says “any snow” but also includes merely the prediction of snow. Also, this is snow accumulation over 24 hours/overnight.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. Urban areas like Chicago and New York have more resources to clear snow and often need more to cause closings.
5. To everyone saying “I grew up in so-and-so and we never closed school,” policies have changed in the last 20 years to make closing a much more common occurrence. Just because schools stayed open back then doesn’t mean they do these days.
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 there you have it: No more wearing your pajamas inside and out because this map is all you need.

h/t Reddit


Become more interesting every week!

Get our Read Up newsletter

how we use your e-mail
We will use your email address to send you this newsletter. For more information please read our privacy policy.