The Wussification of America Illustrated By a Map of School Closures

I forgot what it looks like to watch television without a ticker updating school delays and cancellations across the bottom of the screen.

Every day, the same thing.

Delayed, early dismissal, cancelled.

I have approximately the length of the Puppy Bowl we recorded yesterday to write this article, in fact. Because once the Puppy Bowl is over two small kids will appear, perched over my shoulders like some kind of demented pirate’s parrots, squawking demands/requests/questions/statements.


I have a question.

I need to tell you something.

Sister won’t stop looking at me!

Can I have some chocolate milk?

Henry pooped on the floor!

Hold on, I have to check into that last one. Be right back.

What’s going on, America? When did we start cancelling school on a dime? It’s cold?  No school! Last time I checked, school was held indoors! And what’s a little snow? I don’t mean to get all when-I-was-a-kid-uphill-both-ways-in-the-snow on you but seriously! When I was a kid uphill in the snow both ways!

A little snow on the road? Big deal! Get in, sit down, click your belt, and shut up. We’re doing this! You are going to school come hell, high water, or this little bit of snow!

In case you were wondering which parts of America are the biggest wusses when it comes to a little snow (we already know Atlanta loses its damn mind) a map was published on The Atlantic showing how much snow it typically takes to cancel school in the United States. It comes from Reddit user Alexandr Trubetskoy (atrubetskoy) who is, as reported by The Atlantic, “Using data taken from hundreds of various points from user responses … interpolated using NOAA’s average annual snowfall days map, Trubetskoy made a map showing how much snow it typically takes to close schools in the U.S. and Canada. Notice that for much of the southern U.S., all it takes is “any snow” to shut schools down. For the Upper Midwest and Canada, two feet of snow are required for a closure.”

Take a gander:


Below are Trubetskoy’s clarifications:

  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. The lightest green says “any snow” but also includes merely the prediction of snow.
  5. This is snow accumulation over 24 hours/overnight.
  6. Hawaii does get snow! Just … not where people live.

I grew up in Utah and I remember trudging to class in foot high drifts. Here in Pennsylvania they cancel at the sign of a few flurries. What gives? What about where you live? Do you find the threshold for school closures ridiculous? I understand living in the south where they likely aren’t equipped with snow plows but here in Pennsylvania we should be used to the snow that happens every year.


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