How Much Snowfall Does It Take To Close School? This Map Has Your Answers


As these words are being written, Boston, New York City and everything else from Virginia to Maine is about to get slammed by winter storm Juno. Or as Twitter is calling it, #Snowmageddon2015.

With forecasts predicting up to two feet of snow in many locations across the Northeast, it's no surprise that schools are already being closed. Two feet would be enough to close school anywhere in the United States, but how little does it take? Areas where snow is more prevalent (like the Northeast or Montana) scoff at how little winter weather it takes to bring schools and businesses grinding to a halt in other areas.

The curiosity about this phenomenon must've gotten to Reddit user atrubetskoy, because he took it upon himself to put together this impressive map that shows state-by-state (actually, county-by-county) how much snow is required to bring local school systems to their knees.

The map may contain no real surprises, but it's still fascinating to see it all laid out in visual detail. The South and the Southwest will typically close for "any" snowfall or even the threat of snowfall, while the far North needs at least two feet before those areas will even consider closing school. California probably shows the most diverse results, stretching the entire spectrum from "any" to two feet within its borders.

The reasons for these differences are as widespread as the results. For example, most Southern states receive snow so infrequently that they simply don't have the resources (like snowblowers) needed to clear the roads. Other areas on the border between heavy snowfall and rare snowfall — such as Virginia and North Carolina — will often get more hail or freezing rain than snow, causing ice to form on roads, power lines and trees.

The Reddit user responsible for creating the map reportedly based his findings on soliciting responses from other Redditors, to which he received hundreds of responses, as well as from official NOAA data.

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