I read (in some source I can't remember and therefore don't have a link for) that it costs somewhere in the neighborhood of $180 million of the US taxpayers' dollars to close the government for a snow day. The solution, therefore, is the dreaded "Unscheduled Leave" day.
Changed rencently from "Liberal Leave" day, the "Unscheduled Leave" day works as such: if you want to stay home, you can, but it will cost you a vacation day. Or, "Yes, we understand that it's too dangerous for you to be out there, but if you want to stay safe, it'll cost ya." What's a few vacation days vs. $180 mil, but this causes a certain number of problems. And yes, I know I've been over this and over this, but I can't find the link to my original rant on this topic, so you must sit through it again. Consider this the Nick-at-Nite of LJ posts.
Not everybody has vacation days to just throw around. We're not all tenured executives with 6 weeks standard, or government employees. Yes, the closing is intended for government use, other businesses use this as a gage. And those of us with vacation days may not want to waste them, or have other plans for them already. As such, lots of people report to work. The point of having people stay home on snowy days is so that the road crews may clean up. Since most people are still coming in, the roads do not get adequately tidied.
The most irritating part is to know that I have the option to stay home if I want to than to just be told to get my ass in the office. I will be spending the rest of the day hemming and hawing, doubting my decision to come in.