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Map: How much snow it takes to cancel school in each state

Libby Nelson is Vox's policy editor, leading coverage of how government action and inaction shape American life. Libby has more than a decade of policy journalism experience, including at Inside Higher Ed and Politico. She joined Vox in 2014.

A giant stretch of the South — from Arkansas and southern Missouri to North Carolina and Washington DC — is bracing for a winter storm with up to a foot of snow predicted. If the forecast holds, this map, created by Reddit user Alexandr Trubetskoy, suggests it will be more than enough to cancel school — particularly in the South, where even a single flake can shut things down:

snow day map

The data is based on hundreds of Reddit responses, cross-checked with data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on average snowfall. It doesn't include times when school is cancelled due to very low temperatures or wind chill. The map's creator also points out that urban areas have more resources to clear snow and thus might be less likely to close schools than suburban or rural areas.

If the snow really is so bad that kids are likely to miss school, research suggests that canceling school is the right call — at least when it comes to students' test scores.

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