- Weather-related cancellation
Weather-related cancellation or sometimes a "delay" is when an institution is closed or its opening delayed, or an activity is cancelled or postponed due to inclement
weatherconditions. Certain institutions, such as schools, are likely to close when bad weather, such as snow, flooding, tropical cyclones or extreme heat or cold impairs travel conditions, causes power outages, or otherwise impedes public safety or makes opening the facility impossible or more difficult. Depending upon the local climate, the chances of a school or school system closing may vary. While some regions may close or delay schools when there is any question of safety, others located in areas where bad weather is a regular occurrence may remain open, as local people may be accustomed to travelling under such conditions.
Many countries and smaller jurisdictions have mandates for a minimum number of school days in a year. In order to meet these requirements, many public school systems and private schools that can expect to be closed sometimes during the year due to inclement weather will often build a few extra days into their calendar for snow closures. If by the end of the year, these days are not used, some schools may give their students days off. If all snow days are exhausted, and inclement weather requires more closures, the days must be made up later in the year.
A "snow day" in the
United Statesand Canadais a day in which school classes are cancelled or delayed due to snow, heavy ice, or low temperatures. Similar measures may occur in response to heavy rain, tornadoes, hurricanes, dense fog, and other forms of inclement weather. The criterion for enacting a snow day is primarily inability of school buses to make their routes. Usually secondary concerns are health issues that may arise through exposure to the cold weather. In many cases, the school officially remains open even though buses do not run and classes are cancelled due to the lack of students. Snow days are less common in more northern areas of the United Statesthat are used to heavy winter snowfall, because municipalities are well equipped to handle road clearing and snow removal. In warmer areas of the country, such as Atlanta, Dallas, Memphis, Washington, DCand Baltimore, snow days occur as a result of small snowfalls, many less than an inch or two, due to the lack of ability to clear roadways of snow and ice.
United Kingdom, snow days are not a common event, especially across the south. Scottish and Welsh schools may experience some closures during the winter months due to the northern latitude of Scotland and the altitude of much of Wales. In England however, significant snowfall is not a frequent event and when it does fall it rarely lasts for more than a few days across low-lying areas.
Generally, closures and cancellations are announced on local television and radio stations and on their websites. Many of the more popular networks will keep their listings as up to date as they possibly can. On television and radio, listings are usually made in alphabetical order in cycles, repeating in a specified interval, often every half hour; sometimes on television, these announcements are made using a
news ticker. In major cities, public schoolsystems may be announced separately from private schools. Colleges and universities often have their own set of announcements. Major employers who decide to close will have a separate set of announcements. Evening and weekend events that are cancelled, such as church services, will sometimes be announced at separate times.
Some smaller private schools will not make their own announcements, but rather will follow the plan of the public schools in the jurisdiction where they are located. This may make determination more difficult if the public school system was already scheduled to be off while the private school planned to be open. Some evening and weekend events will also follow the school system.
All schools and systems that have announcements made on their behalf have made prior arrangements with the network. Sometimes, the administrator responsible for making the decision is required to provide a security code in order to have the announcement made. This prevents a student who wants to cancel school from making the call under the guise of the administration. On most stations, a fee is charged to private institutions for making the announcement. Public institutions may or may not be charged, depending on the station's policies.
Small schools and employers may notify students or employees individually by phone rather than making a public announcement, or may put the information on their own website or leave a
recorded messageon their telephone line.
As an alternative to full cancellation, some schools will delay their opening on a day with inclement weather, often by one or two hours, or they will announce a particular opening time. This can be advantageous in some places where schools are not charged a "snow day" by delaying their opening. Many systems will totally cancel their morning
kindergartenunder these circumstances.
In the event of fog, some schools may delay the opening of school three hours but extend the day an extra hour.
On some days, conditions may be adequate for school to open at the usual time, but deteriorate as the day progresses, such as with an incoming snowstorm that does not start until after the school day begins. As a result, school districts may close down their schools at an earlier time than normal.
Workplaces are less likely to close during mildly inclement weather, but the more severe the storm, the more likely a workplace is to close.
Some employers who use most essential types of employees, such as
health carefacilities, when have their employees stay and sleep on the premises while off duty if it is predicted that they will not easily be able to travel to/from work. Many supermarkets, convenience stores, and gas stations will attempt to remain open if possible due to their need by the public and the chance they have at increased business in such an event. Businesses of lesser daily importance to the public, such as small clothing or antique shops, may close in moderate or severe weather.
In most severe storms, police and
fire departments will use specialized vehicles to improve their ability to respond to emergencies. Other workers involved in handling issues pertaining to the inclement weather, such as snow plowoperators, will report to work, and reporters and local elected officials will be on duty in order to serve the public.
In severe weather, various transportation systems, such as
airlines, railroads, or buses may cancel or delay services due to inclement weather. Factor that can lead to such decisions are the passability of the route being used, and the concerns of those involved in the operation, and the safety of the public. In air travel, the decision is often based on the guidelines of the country's Civil Aviation Authority, such as the Federal Aviation Administration(FAA) in the United States.
Even when the service does operate, unplanned delays are likely, as operators take extra precautions, routes require clearing, and some vehicles may become stuck. The level of service provided may be diminished due to a lower demand for service, fewer operators being available, or fewer passable routes. Or the demand for public transportation services may increase as those who usually drive private automobiles may opt to use other forms of transportation.
In particularly hot weather, rail vehicles may be delayed due to the expansion of the steel tracks.
Public transportation systems may continue to operate buses on main arteries, though they may still experience delays. Buses that operate on secondary roads, especially those that are narrow or have a lot of curves or slopes, may either be completely cancelled or else diverted to a main road.
Seemingly, an underground subway system would not be affected by severe weather conditions. But on August 8, 2007, following a
tornadoin Brooklyn, the New York Subway flooded, thereby grounded all trains to a halt during rush hour [ [http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/08/nyregion/08cnd-weather.html?hp Tornado Hits Brooklyn; Subway Back in Service - New York Times ] ] .
* [http://www.cancellations.com/ cancellations.com] . Can be used to find cancellations or delays in your area or if a particular institution has canceled its plans.
* [http://www.schoolsout.com/ schoolsout.com] . Lists school closings in 18 U.S. states and the
District of Columbia
* [http://www.ahherald.com/content/view/1210/1/ Article about Snow Day in Monmouth County, New Jersey]
* [http://www.snowday.co.uk/ Snowday.co.uk] . Can be used to find out if schools or colleges are closed in bad weather. [UK only]
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