We all probably sort of knew this already, but a new map seems to show quite clearly that it doesn't take much snow to close schools in the Southern U.S. — and that it takes a lot to close them in the Northern half of the nation.

South Louisiana doesn't see snow very often, so when a winter storm arrives people don't spend all their time stocking up on essentials. This is Louisiana, after all, and many take advantage of the rare opportunity to enjoy the winter weather.

There wasn't much to work with, however, despite systems that swept through the state twice this week, dumping a wintry mix of snow, sleet and ice on cities from Lafayette to Ruston to coastal Mississippi.



The Deep South is in a deep freeze. Snow, sleet and freezing rain have gripped a region more accustomed to sun and surf. As a result, roads are a mess and from South Louisiana to the Carolina coast, classes are cancelled, airplanes are grounded, and businesses and government offices are closed.

NPR's Debbie Elliott reports.


DEBBIE ELLIOTT, BYLINE: In Birmingham, Alabama today, just getting around town is practically impossible.