In the wake of the recent snow storm in the Deep South, The Atlantic recently released an article with a map made by Reddit user Alexandr Trubetskoy with the typical amount of snowfall it takes to cancel schools in the different counties across America. Since I couldn’t resist, I thought I’d put Colin Woodard’s American Nations boundaries over that map. Here’s the result:
Yes, the American nations are visible even in snow cancellation policy. Now, as noted in The Atlantic article, the situation on the ground is a bit more nuanced than this map represents. Nonetheless, the relationship is striking.
This map is heavily indicative of climate of these respective counties. The snow policy is itself a response to the amount of snow these areas typically receive, as seen here:
If we closed the schools here in Maine every time it snowed, they’d be closed for a third to half the semester. And of course, the more snow you typically receive, the more you have to adopt contingency measures for dealing with winter weather. Many Mainers were quite amazed at the chaos that ensued in the South when they received (as my wife put it), “a dusting.”
But that the American nations would follow climatic lines isn’t surprising. Colonial expansion to the interior of the continent often flowed nearly due west, to places with similar weather.
It simply made sense, whenever possible, to expand into areas where you could simply copy the way of life with which you were adapted, instead of having to start fresh. This is reflected today in the snow cancellation policy, as it is in many other things.