When the Weather Outside is Frightful

By Susan Irgang, Congregational Administrator

As we head into the winter weather season, it seems like a good time to review the Inclement Weather policy at UUCWC. The primary consideration in any decision to close is the safety of members, friends, and visitors who participate in church events as well as the staff. Below are some highlights from the policy:

  • A decision to close the church due to inclement weather takes into account current road conditions as well as weather forecasts through the end of the day when activities may be scheduled. The decision will be made by the Minister/ Worship Associate on Sundays and the Minister/Administrator weekdays.
  • Sources of information about road conditions and weather include forecasts from several weather sites; we also generally follow local schools opening, closing or delayed start/early dismissal status.
  • Consideration is given to the availability and timing of snow removal.
  • If the church is closed, no group will be permitted to meet on the premises during the closure period.
  • Once a decision to close is made, the decision stands regardless of improvement in weather conditions.
  • Announcements about closures will be sent via email, Facebook and/or the website.
  • If the weather is inclement but the church remains open, the leader of any scheduled meeting may still choose to cancel; if possible, notify the Congregational Administrator before the close of office hours.

In the last few years, an additional consideration has been made: the rising cost of snow removal. We have seen these costs increase dramatically as contractors’ liability insurance rates increase.

This winter, the rate for having the driveway/main parking lot salted is $310. The cost for snow removal on the driveway/main parking area for a modest (2″- 4”) snowfall is $660. Snow removal for a modest snowfall on the new pervious paver parking area, which needs special care, is $890. These costs (over $2000), which are the best of the bids at the “going rate”, are for EACH time the property is plowed. Calling for snow removal more than once during a long snowfall to clear for daytime meetings/staff use and again for evening meetings and perhaps the next day as well results in being charged every time the company comes out.

In order to minimize plowing costs, UUCWC has established a plowing priority with our contractor regarding what lots get plowed, when and how often they are addressed. It’s not just the weather, but the costs of properly treating the property, that can be frightful!

There is good news: the church has a subscription to ZOOM, an online meeting platform. While this can only be used by one group at a time, it does make possible virtual meetings, keeping people home but still able to meet in bad weather. Group leaders should contact the Congregational Administrator to schedule a ZOOM meeting.

We appreciate your patience and cooperation during inclement weather. If it appears the church is closed frequently, know that it is done in an effort to ensure safety and contain costs.