January 2023: Severe Storms in North Georgia Cause Several School Systems to Close in Troup/Meriwether, Dekalb, Spalding and Warren Counties
"The number of school closures continues to grow Friday morning as districts survey the damage from Thursday’s severe storms. The center of a strong storm system passed through North Georgia Thursday afternoon and evening and brought widespread rain, severe thunderstorms, and several tornadoes across the area. The National Weather Service has confirmed at least four tornadoes touched down in Troup/Meriwether, DeKalb, Spalding and Warren counties. NWS says that number will absolutely increase in the coming days as they analyze damage assessments and dispatch survey teams. Atlanta News First is monitoring school closures across North Georgia due to the impact of Thursday’s storms."
IN THE NEWS
Climate change is responsible for more frequent severe weather events, including storms that have hit Georgia hard over the last several years. When kids are out of school, they lose out on classroom time, nutritious meals, and community services that they and their families rely on. Here are recent examples of how severe storms in Georgia have caused extreme absence:
11 Alive Weather: “This is something we've never seen before in Georgia.”
Griffin-Spalding County Schools: “The severe weather has left our area but many trees are down across roadways. Emergency management officials have not given us the go-ahead to roll school buses.”
Meriwether County Schools: “Power outages in the Manchester, Georgia and surrounding areas, and road debris in nearby communities, will negatively impact student attendance and the ability for ample staff to be present for school.”
Troup County Schools: “All Troup County Schools and district offices will be closed for students and staff Friday, January 13th, due to widespread power outages and reports of damage across the county.”
September 2022: Hurricane Ian Forces Closure of Georgia Schools
"As Central Georgia prepares for the impact of Hurricane Ian starting later this week, local schools have started to make plans on whether to close or go virtual. As of 11 a.m. Thursday, Ian is picking up speed once again with winds back to 70 mph. Hurricane Warnings have now been issued up and down the South Carolina coastline, including Hilton Head Island, Edisto Beach, Charleston, James Island, Isle of Palms, and Myrtle Beach. Ian is predicted to ride the Atlantic coast for more than a day before it tracks close to Charleston Friday evening. With this cone, this would keep Central Georgia on the better side of the storm, with breezy conditions and rain possible, mainly in our eastern counties."
Hurricane Ian Had 80 Mph Winds.
3 To 6 Foot Storm Surge.
IN THE NEWS
Scientists predict that a warming climate would result in more intense and frequent Atlantic hurricanes. As we’ve seen in the last several years, these dangerous conditions close schools and negatively impact students, student learning, and families. Here are recent examples of how hurricanes in Georgia have caused extreme absence:
June 2022: Extreme Heat Caused Summer Day Camps in North Georgia to Move Inside
"It’s hot outside. So hot that Cobb County made the call to move children at their summer day camps inside recreation centers for the majority of the day. ‘It’s extremely hot,’ Cobb County’s Recreation Facility Manager Clinton Jones said. He told Channel 2’s Richard Elliot that the children do get to go outside, particularly in the morning, but when the temperatures hover above 90 degrees, his staff finds ways to keep them engaged and having fun inside."
IN THE NEWS
Extreme heat in Georgia is being driven by climate change. When temperatures reach peak levels, it’s unsafe for students and educators to be in school buildings that don’t have adequate air conditioning or a power grid that can support these systems. Here are recent examples of how extreme heat in Georgia has caused extreme absence:
2022: Atlanta Students Deal with Heat at Schools in August
"For decades, Georgia schools have started classes in August, the state’s second-hottest month of the year after July. The first school day for the Cobb County School District and Atlanta Public Schools was Aug. 1 this year. Research shows extreme heat can negatively affect student performance. WABE recently visited Atlanta’s Garden Hills Elementary School to see how students and teachers cope with returning to class in hot weather."
The first six months of 2022 were the 4th hottest on record in Atlanta.
Professor emeritus at the University of Colorado Boulder, Paul Chinowsky: “All of the climate models are showing that what we’re experiencing right now at the first part of August, this will be the first part of September.”
Principal Stacey Abbott: “If we hit and close to the red or into the yellow, we put a note right on the front door and to let [teachers] know…reduce your time, go and spend the rest of it on indoor recess.”
Abbott: “We use [the chart] both in the winter and in the summer so that we can kind of keep track of when our kids should be out and when they shouldn’t.”
Professor emeritus at the University of Colorado Boulder Paul Chinowsky: “We’re seeing in a lot of areas of Georgia, the hot days are going to increase by 25% over what they are now.”
Chinowsky: “I think over the next five years, you’re going to see a whole new playground design that’s going to have shade there to prevent kids from getting overheated.”
Atlanta First grader: “Sometimes I bring my ice pack to school and put it on my head.”
First-grade teacher Maya McKenzie: “When we go in, we do some cooling meditative breaths, and take a quick head down on the table, chill out before we get started.”