Our View: Are we getting too alarmist with school weather days?




There was a time in this country when the threat of bad weather meant waking up in the morning and flipping on the TV or radio to discover whether or not schools and businesses were going to be closed. 


In those ancient times, someone - a school official or your boss - rose early, looked out the window and made a judgment. He or she would then call the TV or radio station with the verdict and the word would be passed through town. 


Many was a time when a school child's bedtime prayers included a petition for snow in sufficient quantities to trigger a "snow day" break from school. 


Sometimes those prayers were answered. More often, it seemed, they were not. 


Today, our technology allows for instant communication. Superintendent Jones can reach every parent in his school district at a moment's notice. By the time you turn on your TV or radio, you've already been informed about the implications of any weather emergency on your normal routine. 


Likewise, our technology in predicting and charting weather systems is far superior to that of our primitive forebears. 


We are better aware of impending weather conditions and can make real-time judgments based on what we know, right? 


Well, then, somebody needs to explain what happened Monday afternoon. 


By 3 p.m. -- a full 14 hours before snow was predicted to hit -- Mississippi State had called off Tuesday classes. Other schools and districts followed. The National Weather Service had predicted possible overnight snowfalls of 1-to-3 inches in the Golden Triangle as TV meteorologists interrupted regular programming to breathlessly report the merciless advance of a "polar vortex" heading in our direction. 


Now, 9 out of 10 people in our area don't know what a "polar vortex" is, but everyone admits that it sounds pretty serious. It's not the sort of thing to be trifled with, these polar vortexes. 


Kids were informed there would be no school on Tuesday long before there was a need for the dog to eat the homework. There was no need for bedtime snow prayers. Everything had been arranged. 


It was not until sunrise Tuesday that we realized we were all the victims of a fraud. 


Through mass-calling and mass-texting technologies, we're now able to instantioniously inform parents and students of canceled school. Do we really need to make that call 12-plus hours before the weather is supposed to hit? Could someone stick their nose outside before the school buses run and make the call then? 


People know a bad call when they see one. When school is closed on account of snow, people tend to notice the absence of it. 


Even NFL referees said it was a terrible call. 


The old-timers, people now in their doddering 40s, are laughing at us. 


We deserve it, too. 


There's nothing more pointless than a snow-less snow day.



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