General Question

Aesthetic_Mess's avatar

Why is it that in North Carolina they close school at one inch of snow?

Asked by Aesthetic_Mess (7892points) January 12th, 2011

But in Pennsylvania it has to snow ten inches before they even think about closing?
I know NC just got a couple of inches, but I’m talking about previous years, where they have gotten like 1½ inches of snow, and closed school because of it.

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24 Answers

mrentropy's avatar

Austin, TX is the same way. We can get a minor dusting of snow every February, but everyone still panics and the schools get shutdown. One year the schools were closed for two days even though there was no snow left by the morning of the second day. But we’re not set up for snow at all; no plows, salt spreaders, or anything else so I guess they figure it’s safer to close the schools than risk someone freaking out on the roads and hitting a bus.

bkcunningham's avatar

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation budgets for snow removal and is prepared for snow removal because of the annual snowfall the state gets due to its geography. The reverse is true for most areas of North Carolina.

Jude's avatar

Hahahaha!! I just came from there and, sadly, the people do not know how to drive in the snow. They go full-tilt boogie and don’t slow down enough for a stop. They’re the dangerous ones.

Quick! Stock up on bread and water!!! The snows ‘acomin’!

Silly Southerners.

(also, what bk said about snow removal)

Girl from the North

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mrentropy's avatar

People in Austin (and surrounding areas) don’t know how to drive anyway. Rain, ice, or snow just makes it worse. You could probably shut down the whole metropolitan area by dumping your Slushie on the road.

jerv's avatar

You will find that pretty much everywhere outside of New England. People South of Pennsylvania or within 100 miles of the Pacific ocean have difficulty driving in anything other than perfectly clear, dry weather, and their road crews are not equipped to deal with any sort of wintery weather.

Kind of annoying for us New England transplants who are used to going through a few inches at 45 on bald tires :p

BarnacleBill's avatar

In KY, school openings are driven by whether or not the school buses can make it into the subdivisions, which are not required to clear or de-ice their roads. The subdivisions are often 6th class cities, in order to avoid paying county taxes, and therefore don’t receive certain county services.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

We live in NC and there is only one snow plow for the county. Hundreds and hundreds of miles of road, they use a road spreader to make path down the middle of the road.
The locals know it is dangerous to be out in the snow—- SO they drive 75 mph to get home quickly. A lot of off to the side of the road accidents are vehicles will bald or almost bald tires.

Learned to drive in New England, first fifteen minutes of drivers ed was in high school parking lot after 12 inch snow fall. Did donuts and skids—-

bkcunningham's avatar

There are areas of West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio and North Carolina on the eastern US in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains that get significant annual snowfall amounts and authorities are prepared and budget for the snow removal. These local governments don’t typically shut down the public infrastructure like they typically do in areas not accustomed to significant snowfall and aren’t equipped to deal with the removal. When they do it’s because of the dangers of travel on the ridges and mountaintop rural roads.

klutzaroo's avatar

When we have winter storms allllll the way down where I live, stuffs shut down. We don’t have the infrastructure to deal with snow because its rare and unexpected. We had snow last year like we hadn’t have in 20 years. If we had the things to deal with it, if people were able to navigate safely (I lived further north for a while and learned how but some people have never done it), we wouldn’t close down. As it is, we do. Any major weather event (or predicted one) is enough to close down. That goes for anywhere. For us, that’s any snow. For other people, its a lot of snow. It just depends on what normal is and the infrastructure in place to deal with events.

Jay484's avatar

because you guys arent used to snow. Down here in souther Ontario they only cancle the school is we had a major strom that night.

blueiiznh's avatar

@klutzaroo GA @jerv I would hardly call New Englanders as a whole, good drivers. I think they are even worse in the rain.
With all the lawsuits, school districts are also more mindful of accidents and make the call to to close for safety sake.

jerv's avatar

Seattle’s last mayor lost his job after what happened a couple of winters ago. I guess he should have allocated more funds to snow removal. His successor remedied that error and now Seattle is no longer totally paralyzed by a dusting the way they used to be not too long ago.

john65pennington's avatar

Jude, you are apparently not looking at the whole picture with snow in North Carolina and the rest of the south. most states and counties in the south do not have enough funds allocated for snow removal on the side streets and back country roads. only the interstate and main state roads are cleaned. most of the northern states are much smaller than the southern states. if you crunch the numbers, you will discover that much more money, for snow removal, is in the north, rather than the south. the north has much more snow than the south. northern drivers do know how to travel in the snow, rather than the people of the south. you guys in the north have much more snow driving experience. people in the southern states are not silly, they are just cautious and that’s the way it should be.

And, please remember that safety always comes first with each state and local government. in specific, those big yellow school buses that transports everyones children. those buses will not roll, if the roads are not clear. ever heard of black ice? its abundant on the backroads and hills of North Carolina and most all other southern states. this is not silly, this is a safety and liability issue.

Jude's avatar

@john65pennington I mentioned snow removal.

PhiNotPi's avatar

In SC, we can go an entire year without snow. We aren’t very prepared to handle any snow on the roads, since there really isn’t a reason to have major funds in this area. So when snow is predicted, school gets canceled easily. As an example of just how easily, one year snow was predicted and school was canceled, but it turned out to be a sunny day! Also, on this past monday, we had five inches of of snow, and schools have been canceled for three days as of now. Just goes to show that we don’t have the equipment needed to handle snow. Yesterday was the first day I have seen a snow plow in as long as I can remember.

takaboom's avatar

Because we aren’t used to that weather; we are used to not having snow and the us that one inch is a big deal. its serious business
Even if its not that serious and it won’t stick, there will still be things closing

row4food's avatar

My sister moved to South Carolina from up here in Upstate NY. Down there, the temperature will hover around the freezing point so the snow will switch to rain and then the temperature drops and creates a nasty layer of ice too. She moved there 3 years ago to the beach, to escape the Northeast winters and it has snowed every year.

It does create a problem when they close the schools, because snow days aren’t budgeted either. (My sister is a teacher) They all have to make those days up in the summer when they just want to be at the beach.

jazmina88's avatar

In some places, snow really gets people off their game. especially when it doesnt happen often, and there is not much snow removal in budgets.
It is a major event…other places are used to 2 feet of the stuff.

Snow is awesome, and I think we all need to sit back and chill while nature blankets us with the stuff. It’s purifying.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Supacase's avatar

Where I live in VA, an entire school system will be closed because of one section that is impossible to travel due to elevation or remote location with winding roads while the majority of the rest of the county is perfectly fine. Perhaps your location in NC has a similar area.

alamo's avatar

I live in North Carolina and it’s several things. It’s not worth the money to invest in salt or equipment to clear the roads.Last winter or the one before, we had no snow all winter. Heck, my “bag” of rock salt had to be beat into smaller pieces so I wouldn’t trip on the big pieces on the sidewalk.
It’s rare that we have more than a couple of snow days any year. The most often thing said in the snow is” I can drive in this stuff, but it’s all the other idiots that I worry about.” If you’re “from around here” you don’t get much practice either.
The other difference is the ice. This last storm snowed about 6 inches in my area, then changed to about ¼ inch of ice. My yard is still an ice rink today.
The school closures seem to quick to some but it’s a calculated risk.Roads not clear, ice, inexperienced drivers versus a couple of snow days in the summer or spring.

bkcunningham's avatar

@alamo we just moved from the Fayetteville area. When you put a military base with people from all over the country who don’t know how to drive in the snow together with a little snow on the roads, I was always thankful everything was shut down.

alamo's avatar

Just a slightly funny aside. It is now 1 plus week after the snow and a local car dealer is advertising that since they were shut down from the snow, they have an inventory over stock and “they’re dealin”.

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