Snow day probabilities

I just learned that Snow Day Calculator exists, and will tell you the probability of having a snow day from school tomorrow.
Here’s an interview with David Sukhin, its creator, currently a junior at MIT. It appears AccuWeather has a similar predictor. See also the reddit snow closing map.

I’d be interested to know how accurate these forecasts are. The big difficulty here seems to be, as with so many prediction problems, gathering the data set. There are good records of actual snow amounts – but school closures (the dependent variable) and historical weather forecasts (the independent variable, if we want to avoid leakage from the future) are going to be much harder to find. (An easy way to deal with this, once you have a critical mass of users – let them submit whether their school closed today or not?) There has been analysis of the effect of snow days on educational outcomes, but the only thing I could dig up on predicting the probability of snow days is this paper on defining a severity index for snow storms from the National Weather Digest in 1985, which lucked into having a high school with good records. That won’t scale.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s