Sustained winds & gusts from #Irma = unsafe for kids and community
Due to the anticipated inclement weather and dangerous high winds caused by Hurricane Irma, all Atlanta Public Schools campuses and district offices are closed on Monday, September 11, and Tuesday, September 12.
Our team has been closely monitoring the weather conditions in collaboration with the National Weather Service and city and state officials. Although the storm has been downgraded as it makes its way through Florida, we made our decision with an abundance of caution.
I want to take a moment to highlight an area of the weather that needs deeper attention for children and their safety: WIND! The latest reports indicate that the Atlanta area is expected to experience sustained high winds between 35-40 mph with wind gusts between 45-55 mph by 8 a.m. Monday, according to the most recent Weather.gov briefings. These high wind conditions will be paired with rainfall and thunderstorms.
In addition to all the other potential hazards, the wind will also make this weather particularly dangerous for children to be outside. We didn’t want them waiting for school buses (physical bus limits are maxed at about 40 mph for sustained wind and gusts at about 54-66 mph) or walking to school. In short, we also don’t want them outside when school is closed if these weather projections prove true tomorrow! Read more below on why…
From our careful monitoring and research, we have learned that the storm has been upgraded to a tropical storm for most of Georgia. We will see these strong winds beginning as early as 4 a.m. Forecasts predict high winds all day tomorrow with Central and North Georgia at risk for inclement weather. The National Weather Service continuously updates its briefings at www.weather.gov/atlanta/briefings.
Based on that information and given anticipated wind gusts potentially topping 65 mph by 8 p.m. on Monday, it’s just too dangerous for buses and students to safely travel to and from school. To further illustrate the danger, research on wind speed effects on school buses and the human body shows that at
- 11 mph – onset of discomfort for walking
- 20 mph – significantly affects walking performance
- 34 to 44 mph – walking difficult and dangerous
- 40 mph – production of significant debris, causing road obstructions
So, for the first time in a long time, your superintendent is saying: Don’t play outside (especially tomorrow if wind speeds are not safe)!
Following our inclement weather protocol, parents, guardians and employees will be updated via the following communication channels: Infinite Campus, robo-calls, APS Mobile App (sign up for push notifications), emails and/or text messages as well as on the APS website (www.atlantapublicschools.us ), Facebook and Twitter, and through local media outlets (WSB, CBS46, WXIA/11 Alive and Fox5). School operation decisions for Tuesday, Sept. 12, will be made on Monday evening after a review of the most recent weather conditions. Parents and guardians will be contacted as soon as any decisions are made through all available communication channels. APS charter school parents and guardians are encouraged to contact their schools directly for scheduling information.
I love you all and look forward to seeing you back in school soon! Be safe and take care of each other!