The schools are closed. Um, why?

Northfield Schools closed
We got maybe 7 inches of snow. It stopped snowing at about 7 pm last night. There’s no wind. It’s 25 degrees. The mist is not an issue since the streets and highways are slushy with salt.

And yet, school was cancelled this morning.  I don’t get it.  But I think it would be helpful if the rationale was included with the announcement by those who make the decision.

15 thoughts on “The schools are closed. Um, why?”

  1. My son Tim wants me to say that your view is one of a party-pooper. I’ve never seen him so awake and alive at this hour of the day! I, on the other hand, am a little bit with you. Probably because I am not getting a snow day!

  2. I echo Tim’s comment. Who cares if the kids get a day off? Isn’t that part of the fun of being a kid in Minnesota?!? My 16 year old is thrilled! Think of all the kids who will be outside today building snow forts, digging tunnels and drinking hot cocoa! I’m all for a snow day!

  3. To what Tim, Sharon and Betsey have said, I would add that although the city streets have been cleared, what about the roads outside Northfield where a substantial number of students live? “Back in the olden days” when my kids were in school, the bus drivers advised the superintendent about the call to close the schools.

  4. I disagree with Supt. Richardson on almost everything except this. I think he has been very good at choosing when schools should be closed for weather. It is the one thing he does a good job at.

    You townies don’t know how bad the roads are outside of town. I have drifts in my driveway, so I know it was also drifting outside of town. This is the kind of snow that grabs you when you go an eentsy bit off the road and hauls you down into the ditch. Better to sleep in than get stuck in the ditch.

  5. Griff,

    Do me a favor. Call Mr. Benjamin at Benjamin Bus. The rural roads, and safe access to the students is the primary reason for a closure. It is not the condition of the roads in town.

    Mr. Benjamin can give you an educated response on what risk analysis goes into the decision.

  6. Cool. Chris Richardson just released a statement:

    I know that some might be questioning my decision to cancel school today. While the weather was certainly a factor, the truth of the matter is, we know that kids pretty much hate school and the staff pretty much hates their jobs, so it’s good to have spontaneous days off when we can get away with it, just to keep everyone sane. – Sent from my iPhone, location undisclosed.

    Transparency. I love it.

  7. For some perspective on the school closing decision…

    It’s 1:00 in the afternoon and the snow plow just went down our street for the first time. Even a two hour late start wouldn’t have worked for us.

    It may be nice in town but it sure isn’t out here. I’m in rural Webster and there is no way our bus could have gotten here at 6:55 a.m. when it usually arrives. My neighbor couldn’t get out of his driveway in his Suburban because of ice. Another neighbor had two foot drifts in her drive. I still can’t get out of my driveway and both my husband and I are working from home.

    Calling off school was the only way to go – unless the town kids had school and the rural kids stayed home. To make Griff happy, of course 😉

  8. Excellent points about the rural roads. And even in town, the aforementioned Tim managed to plow his car into a snowbank while driving his sister and himself into meet me for lunch. (Thanks to Elaine Nisbett, the owner of Sosa’s grocery, and an unnamed police officer for assisting with the “debanking” of Tim’s car). Kimmie (aged 9) reports to me that she’s glad she lives in Northfield, because there are so many nice people. Out of the mouths of babes….

  9. What did you measure Sunday morning to Monday morning? From Monday morning to Tuesday morning? Storm total from Sunday morning through Tuesday morning?

    I measured 4.7 inches Sunday morning through 9:00 a.m Monday morning after some sleet and freezing rain. I got another 1.5 inches Monday 9:00 a.m. though Tuesday 8:00 a.m.

  10. I live on the east side of town near Sibley. When you see snowfall reports from Northfield on the NWS site, or in the media, it is usually my report. I was frustrated because I know how to measure snow accurately, and the NWS didn’t post my measurements from this storm. I think they felt the totals were too low. I did hear some thunder Sunday, so that could have caused some localized variations in amounts because convective precipitation falls less evenly. It is entirely possible that my section of town got less snow, or more sleet and freezing rain to keep the totals down. By the way, it is easy to contribute rain and snowfall reports to the NWS. Take a look at this website: It would be great to have more local observations.

    I see that Carleton, not far from me at all, reported totals more in line with what you had heard.

    1. Hey Brad-

      I work for the NWS Remote Sensing Center in Chanhassen ( ), and I’d like to track down a reason why your data wasn’t posted. It looks like we may not have received your ob, but in order to find out if this is a one-off problem or a systemic problem, can you give me your station ID? I’m guessing from your CoCoRaHS plug that you’re a CoCoRaHS observer, in which case I’m wondering if you’re MN-RC-4.

      PLEASE send me an email – anne.sawyer(at)

  11. Anyone follow the new blog, Minnesota Forecaster? The author isn’t identified by name but he/she says on the About page:

    I’ve always been interested in determining which weather forecasters are more accurate than others and, ultimately, in grading their performance. This is a vehicle through which I hope to do that.

    I find it fascinating, including the comment threads.

    Guess who was best and worst on the forecasts for the most recent storm?

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