Analyzing the History of School Closings/Delays in the Past 40 Years Due to Extreme Wintertime Weather in Northwest Indiana

Faculty Sponsor

Kevin Goebbert


Arts and Sciences



Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Symposium Date

Spring 5-3-2019


Winter weather can be unpredictable and dangerous if precautions are not taken in a timely and orderly manner. Along with the hazard of snow, there are also the threats of frigid wind chills, accreting ice on roadways and other surfaces, as well as a wintery mix of sleet and rain. These conditions are the cause for many school delays and closures across much of Northwest Indiana. The current criteria for winter-weather related school closures in Northwest Indiana were reviewed and compared to archived meteorological data in an attempt to determine the frequency of such closures over a span of 40 years. Information for snow fall, ice accretion, temperature, and wind chill were gathered from METAR surface observations and compared against the regional school cancellation criteria. The number of assumed yearly closures will be assessed in a variety of ways including the average over the 40-year span of data to determine what number of winter-weather related closures Northwest Indiana should anticipate each year. Further analysis of the observed data will work to identify trends for inclement weather types to assess and compare their individual influences on school closures. Having a concise pool of data and descriptive statistics would assist school districts in better preparing for yearly winter-weather related closures.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

Seth Tacke is a Junior Meteorology major at Valparaiso University with interests in Aviation and private weather forecasting.

Nate Healy is a Junior Meteorology major with a passion for extreme winter weather and winter climatology.

Jilliann Dufort is a Junior Meteorology major at Valparaiso University interested in lake effect snow and severe weather.

Natalie Vernon is a Freshman Meteorology major who is exploring the different possibilities in the field of meteorology, with an interest in winter weather.

Emily Mazan is a Junior Meteorology major with a special interest in arctic climatology and climate change.

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