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More than snow in the equation as school cancellations mount

White-out conditions hit just as schools were letting out in Wellesley on Dec. 9,  2005, making for a rough commute home.
White-out conditions hit just as schools were letting out in Wellesley on Dec. 9, 2005, making for a rough commute home.Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff/file

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The accusation: When it comes to snow, the region’s residents have melted into wimps.

The alleged proof: The threshold for calling snow days seems to have dropped so low that officials cancel school for storms that would have been shrugged off in the past—a hardier period loosely defined as “back in the day.”

But is it true?

Statistics proving the snow-day standard is softer than it once was are hard to come by. The state doesn’t collect them. The Boston Public Schools have compiled snow-day numbers going back only 20 years, and they don’t include information about storm size. Even so, simply comparing snowfall totals over time could be inconclusive, because a variety of factors—like timing—contribute to a storm’s wallop, or lack of one.

Without numbers, why is there this widespread belief that we’ve turned weak?

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