Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Overkill Alert?: Several Alabama Schools To Close Early Today Ahead of Severe Weather Threat


I've been busy with some other projects this morning and am just now seeing word on the wires that numerous school districts across Alabama are closing early today due to the threat of severe weather.

I have mixed feelings about this.  "Overkill" is the first word that came to my mind, particularly in light of the severe weather threat level for today, which is nowhere near what we saw last week.

I know that school officials are walking a fine line here, especially in this region that has been hard hit by record setting severe weather events earlier in the Spring (and for a few spots again last week).  If you were to ask them, I'm sure that they would say that erring on the side of the safety of the kids is their #1 priority - and I agree with that premise (I have 2 school aged children myself) in certain situations, I just don't think this is one of those situations.

There are three main concerns that I have with today's decision:

(1).  Are you going to close school early for every "Slight Risk" severe weather day that is forecast by the National Weather Service (via the SPC?)   If so, you'd better build some additional school days into next year's calendar, because there will be many such days.

(2).  How many children are being sent home to a mobile home this afternoon?  Given a choice, I'd rather have them ride out any severe weather in their sturdily built school.

(3).  How many children are being sent home to an empty house this afternoon?  Granted, with the Thanksgiving holiday fast approaching, many families will have someone at home, but some folks have to work to pay for that turkey and dressing on Thursday, and may have been unable to make other arrangements when hearing the news this morning.

We could go round and round on this.  To me, the bottom line is that I can see closing school early for a significant, widespread severe weather threat, after giving proper advanced notice to parents.  Thankfully, in this day and age, we can forecast those types of events days ahead of time in most cases.  Today's rather hastily prepared closure decision just seems like overkill to me...

Regardless of the circumstances, if you're reading this post and live in the severe weather threat areas for this afternoon and evening, please take a few minutes to review this post on severe weather safety and preparedness tips, just in case threatening weather approaches your area.  


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4 comments:

Anonymous said...

looks like this thing is a bust in the southeast today. you might be right on the over kill.

Rob In Texas said...

The upper-level support is running to the North of the thunderstorm activity, which is limiting intensification so far. Thats one of the many reasons why I felt the decision to close school early today was overkill, the situation was not as intense and/or well organized as compared to last week, and certainly nowhere near the situations earlier in the year.

The activity may intensify as the atmosphere heats up this afternoon ahead of the line...but cloud cover is widespread well East into Georgia and that is limiting the amount of heating that is taking place as well...

Anonymous said...

Would you want your child in a block building with glass at each end of the hallway? would you want to have to look for your child in tree somewhere? I had rather be safe than attending mass funerals!

Rob White said...

Anonymous 3-2-12,

I don't think you read my post in its entirety, particularly point 2. Mobile homes account for a significant number of residences in this region. Children would be much safer in the school than in a mobile home - hands down.

To all readers: if you're wondering why this subject may have popped up again (the post was originally made back in November), many schools across Alabama are closing early today (3-2-12) due to the severe weather threat.

I hope they are going to safe places or have an alternate location available...