Windy weather can disrupt normal school operations and force school administrators to cancel classes for the safety of students and staff. But how strong do winds actually need to be for school to be called off?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: There is no universal wind speed threshold for canceling school, as the decision depends on several factors like a school district’s policies, type of school infrastructure, and local wind patterns.

However, sustained wind speeds above 40 mph often prompt school closures.

In this comprehensive article, we’ll explore the wind speeds and weather factors that impact school closure decisions. We’ll look at differences between regions and school types, typical wind speed cancellation policies, how administrators make these judgement calls, and steps you can take to stay informed on weather-related school closures.

Wind Speed Thresholds Are Based on Local Conditions

Regional Differences in Wind Storm Severity

When it comes to canceling school due to high winds, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. The decision to cancel school is typically based on the wind speed thresholds established by local authorities and school districts.

These thresholds take into account the specific regional conditions and the potential risks associated with high winds.

Regional differences in wind storm severity play a significant role in determining the wind speed thresholds for school closures. Coastal areas, for example, may have higher thresholds due to the increased risk of storm surges and potential damage to infrastructure.

Inland regions may have lower thresholds as they are less prone to coastal effects but still need to consider the impact of strong gusts on school buildings and transportation.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by BARFI | Jharkhand (@barfi_2.0)


Vulnerabilities of School Infrastructure

Another factor influencing wind speed thresholds for school closures is the vulnerabilities of school infrastructure. Older buildings may be more susceptible to damage from high winds, while newer structures are designed to withstand stronger gusts.

Local authorities and school districts take into account the structural integrity of school buildings and the potential risks to students and staff when determining the wind speed thresholds.

In addition to buildings, other factors such as outdoor facilities, like playgrounds and sports fields, can also be vulnerable to high winds. The safety of students during outdoor activities is a top priority, and wind speed thresholds are set to ensure their well-being.

Established Cancellation Policies

School districts typically have established cancellation policies that outline the criteria for canceling school due to inclement weather, including high winds. These policies often take into consideration not only the wind speed thresholds but also other weather conditions, such as heavy rain or snow, that may pose additional risks to students and staff.

It is important for school districts to have clear and consistent policies in place to ensure the safety of everyone involved. These policies are typically developed in consultation with local emergency management agencies, meteorologists, and other experts who have a deep understanding of the local weather patterns and potential risks.

By following these established cancellation policies, school districts can make informed decisions about canceling school based on the specific conditions and potential risks associated with high winds.

This helps to ensure the safety and well-being of students and staff, while also minimizing any disruption to the educational process.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Lambton Golf and Country Club (@lambtongcc)


40 MPH: A Common Benchmark for School Closure

When it comes to canceling school due to wind, a benchmark commonly used by many school districts is 40 miles per hour (MPH). This threshold is often considered because it indicates a significant level of danger and potential risk to students and staff.

Why 40 MPH?

At 40 MPH, wind speeds can have a substantial impact on the safety of students and staff. Strong winds can make it difficult to maintain control while walking or driving, especially for younger children or inexperienced drivers.

Additionally, high winds can create hazardous conditions by causing objects to become airborne, such as branches, debris, or even loose equipment on school grounds.

Moreover, wind speeds of 40 MPH or higher can pose a serious threat to the structural integrity of school buildings. Strong gusts can potentially damage roofs, windows, or other vulnerable areas, putting students and staff at risk of injury.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by VICSES (@vicsesnews)


School Safety First

When it comes to making the decision to cancel school, the safety and well-being of students and staff are of paramount importance. School administrators and officials carefully consider factors such as wind speed, wind direction, and other weather conditions to determine whether it is safe to keep schools open.

School districts often rely on weather forecasts from trusted sources like the National Weather Service or local meteorological services to assess the potential risks associated with high winds. These sources provide up-to-date information on wind speeds and other weather-related factors, allowing school officials to make informed decisions about school closures.

It’s worth noting that the 40 MPH benchmark is not a one-size-fits-all rule. Different school districts may have varying guidelines depending on their location, infrastructure, and local weather patterns.

Some districts may choose to close schools at lower wind speeds, while others may only consider closure at higher speeds.

Keeping Parents and Students Informed

School districts understand the importance of communication during weather-related closures. They strive to provide timely and accurate information to parents and students about school closures or delays due to high winds.

This information is typically shared through various channels, including school websites, social media platforms, automated phone calls, and local news outlets.

Parents and students are encouraged to stay informed by checking their school’s official communication channels and local news sources during inclement weather. It’s always better to err on the side of caution and prioritize safety when it comes to extreme wind conditions.

Other Weather Factors That Contribute to Closures

While wind strength plays a significant role in determining whether schools close due to weather conditions, there are several other factors that also come into play. Here are some of the other weather factors that contribute to closures:

Wind Chill

In addition to wind speed, wind chill is an important factor in determining whether schools close. Wind chill is the combination of wind speed and temperature that affects how quickly exposed skin loses heat.

When the wind chill reaches dangerous levels, it can pose a serious risk to students and staff who have to be outside for extended periods of time, such as during recess or while waiting for the bus.

According to the National Weather Service, wind chill values below -20°F can lead to frostbite on exposed skin within 30 minutes. Schools may decide to close if the forecasted wind chill is expected to reach or exceed this threshold to prioritize the safety of their students and staff.

Precipitation and Visibility Issues

While wind strength alone may not be enough to close schools, when combined with other weather factors such as heavy precipitation and poor visibility, it can create hazardous conditions. Strong winds can exacerbate the effects of rain, snow, or sleet, making it difficult for buses to navigate roads safely and for students to walk to school without facing potential dangers.

When heavy precipitation is combined with high winds, it can also lead to reduced visibility, making it hard for drivers to see the road and increasing the risk of accidents. Schools may opt to close to ensure the safety of students who may have to traverse these hazardous conditions to get to school.

Damage and Power Outages

Strong winds can also cause damage to school buildings and infrastructure, leading to closures. High wind speeds can uproot trees, knock down power lines, and cause structural damage to buildings. In such cases, schools may close to allow for repairs to be made and to ensure the safety of students and staff.

In areas prone to frequent power outages caused by strong winds, schools may also close to avoid disruptions in the learning environment. Without electricity, schools may not be able to provide adequate heating or lighting, impacting the comfort and safety of students and staff.

It is important for schools to consider these factors and make informed decisions when deciding whether to close due to weather conditions. Prioritizing the safety and well-being of students and staff is paramount, and by taking into account all weather factors and potential risks, schools can ensure a secure learning environment.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by East River High School (@eastriverhs_ocps)


How School Administrators Make Cancellation Decisions

When it comes to cancelling school due to inclement weather, school administrators have the challenging task of making the best decision for the safety and well-being of students and staff. They follow a careful process that involves consulting various sources of meteorological data, coordinating with local agencies, and considering the timing of announcements.

Consulting Meteorological Data Sources

School administrators rely heavily on meteorological data sources to gather accurate and up-to-date information about weather conditions. These sources include the National Weather Service, local weather stations, and weather websites.

By analyzing weather forecasts, radar images, and storm tracking information, administrators can assess the severity of the weather event and its potential impact on school operations.

Additionally, some school districts may have access to specialized meteorological services that provide detailed forecasts tailored specifically to their region. These services can offer valuable insights into localized weather patterns, helping administrators make informed decisions based on the unique circumstances of their district.

Coordinating with Local Agencies

School administrators understand the importance of collaborating with local agencies to gather additional insights and ensure the safety of everyone involved. This coordination often involves communication with transportation departments, law enforcement agencies, and emergency management services.

Transportation departments play a crucial role in assessing road conditions and determining if it is safe for buses to navigate the routes. Law enforcement agencies provide valuable information regarding traffic conditions and any potential hazards on the roads.

Emergency management services offer guidance on emergency response procedures and can provide assistance during severe weather events.

Timing of Announcements

Timing is key when it comes to announcing school closures or delays. School administrators strive to make these decisions as early as possible to allow parents and staff to make necessary arrangements.

However, it is a delicate balance between providing sufficient notice and ensuring that the decision is based on the most accurate and up-to-date information.

Administrators take into account the pace at which weather conditions are expected to worsen or improve. They also consider factors such as the availability of transportation services, the time required for staff to safely prepare the school, and the impact on other community events or services.

Ultimately, the goal is to make an informed decision that prioritizes the safety and well-being of everyone involved. By consulting meteorological data sources, coordinating with local agencies, and carefully considering the timing of announcements, school administrators strive to ensure that students, staff, and their families are kept safe during inclement weather situations.

Staying Informed About Weather-Related School Closures

When inclement weather strikes, school administrators face the challenging task of deciding whether to cancel school for the day. Safety is always the top priority, and determining the strength of the wind is just one factor that comes into play.

Here are some ways to stay informed about weather-related school closures in your area:

Checking District Websites and Social Media

One of the quickest and easiest ways to find out if school is canceled due to strong winds is by checking your local school district’s website and social media accounts. Many districts have dedicated webpages or sections that provide up-to-date information on school closures.

They may also post announcements on platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Make sure to follow or like your district’s social media pages to receive instant updates.

Tuning in to Local News Sources

Local news stations play a crucial role in disseminating information about school closures. During severe weather events, they often provide live updates on school closures, road conditions, and other safety-related news.

Tune in to your preferred local news channel or visit their website for the most accurate and timely information. You can also sign up for email or text alerts from the news station to receive notifications directly to your inbox or phone.

Receiving Emergency Alerts

In some areas, emergency alert systems are in place to notify residents of any imminent danger or significant disruptions, including school closures. These alerts may be sent via text message, phone call, or through dedicated smartphone apps.

Check with your local government or emergency management agency to see if they offer such services and sign up to stay informed about weather-related school closures.

Remember, it’s important to stay informed through reliable sources during severe weather conditions. By utilizing these methods, you can stay updated on whether strong winds or any other weather-related factors will lead to school closures in your area.


While there is no one-size-fits-all wind speed that triggers school closures, gusts of 40 mph or greater often prompt shutdowns due to safety concerns. Administrators consider many factors like infrastructure vulnerabilities, precipitation, visibility issues, and local weather patterns when deciding to cancel classes.

Stay proactive by monitoring district communications, news reports, and emergency alerts so you can plan ahead for potential wind-related school closures.

Similar Posts