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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

snow of '73

Since the lack of snow in this area precludes me writing in the present about that wintry, freezy, skid stuff, I have determined to write about the snow of 1973. Possible snow flurries were predicted for that fateful Friday long ago but no accumulation was to take place. My job at the time was maintaining and repairing telephone cables. Always working outside, I was usually one of the first ones to know and experience any changing weather.

In the early afternoon, the sky was getting that “it-is-gonna-snow-any-minute” look, and that, in fact, is what it started doing about mid-afternoon. It was getting worse as the time moved on toward my getting off time of 5pm. The ground was fairly warm so a lot of the white stuff was melting right away. As I finished my last job of the day, I noticed the flakes were very large and the wind was blowing it almost horizontally.

The snow was starting to accumulate on the ground as I drove home, with only a small amount on the road as yet. My auto back then was a straight-stick, 1971 Chevy Nova and the rear tires had already lost most of their tread. The roads were still mostly passable but there was a pretty fair amount of fishtailing done on the last long hill before getting to my place of rest and abode, breathing a sigh of relief, I finally eased into the garage.

Please remember that I do not live in Michigan, Wisconsin or even Virginia, but South Carolina and even somewhat in the south of that state. We seldom even get freezing rain, it usually stops about 10 to 20 miles North of us – I didn’t say it didn’t happen, just not very often, and then only about once a winter. The rest of the winter it is just a very wet cold, the kind that chills the bones.

The snow continued to fall all that night with such intensity and with the flakes so big that visibility was very limited. I remember staring out the window about 2am and hearing rolling thunder that was muffled by the heavy snow and seeing the dim flashes of lightning. What we had was a huge thunderstorm that turned to snow before touching down. Fortunately the electricity and heat stayed on through the whole experience, even though I did have a fireplace and plenty of firewood.

The snow continued all night and up into the day on Saturday and it was an all-time, record breaking and history making snowfall for our area. If memory serves, the official measure at the airport was 19 inches and in my front yard I measured 21 inches. Now before all you northerners start going on about what a wimpy snowfall that was, again let me remind you that this is South Carolina.

Our two daughters were on the old side of 2 and 4 and the first time I took them outside they were totally amazed. I was holding them both, but when I put them down in the snow, the little one was almost engulfed and wanted back in the arms immediately. We did get to play much and I pulled them on a makeshift sled, as we do not normally have those properly built contraptions in our neck of the woods.

Everything pretty much screeched to a grinding halt right at first except for a few of the large wheeled 4-wheel drives. We just don’t have that kind of weather and are not prepared at all for it. And when we do have a snow, it normally either melts the same day or the next and very little hazard is involved. SCDOT drug out what equipment they had and did the best they could but the highway patrol was telling all to stay off the roads except for emergencies.

It was Sunday afternoon before I tried to dig one of the cars out of the garage and driveway. It took about two hours to get it to the street. On Monday morning I left about 30 minutes early for the 6-mile trip to my place of reporting - in case of difficulty - but once I got out to the main roadway, they had one lane open in both directions and I breezed right on in to work.

In case you were wondering how I was going to work my Friend into this, just let me say that I am glad that we have Someone that loves us in any kind of weather, no matter the size of the storm – or the type – that we might be going through. ec


Blogger ann said...

as it happens, i was born in february 1973, in baton rouge. we typically get a few flakes every 3rd year or so, but that's about it.

as my mother was laboring away in the hospital, my dad had my sister outside playing in... the snow! we had around 2 inches of accumulated snow that night - i'm sure it's a record of some sort.

i wonder if it's the same snow storm that you experienced...

12/28/2005 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger madcapmum said...

We often have weather like that up here, but even so, 19 inches is a huge snowfall in one day!

12/28/2005 12:22:00 PM  
Blogger Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

I, too, have been thinking about snow. At the moment the outside temperature is 52F. It has been raining al day and the inside of my house feels cold—very cold. I have a fire in the fireplace and had soup for lunch—yet, I can’t get warm.

I remember being an army officer in Germany and sleeping on the ground in a sleeping bag. When I awake, the bag and I were covered in about 8 inches of snow. I was warm. I wish I were warm now.

12/28/2005 03:44:00 PM  
Blogger thebeloved said...

Snow, snow tires, and chains are all common sights up here where I am. But for those who are not prepared it can be a disaster. It reminds me of a big snow one year when I was in Portland. They had no clue what to do with the stuff.

12/28/2005 04:33:00 PM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

No, no, that amount of snow is significant in most places, even here in The great White North.

12/28/2005 06:03:00 PM  
Blogger mreddie said...

ann - Not sure if that was the same one or not, but it certainly was a record around here.

MCM - You can imagine what it looked like to us since we most only see flurries and that not every year.

SSN - Don't know if you were in KY. in the winter of 1962 but I was working in Lexington and there was some snow but also a record cold. At least two days of one week it was below zero - and a lot of ice.

the beloved - That was about what it was around here - clueless. I just stayed off the roads.

AC - I feel for you guys having to face that stuff all winter - ours was just a once in a lifetime thing. But I wouldn't mind getting two or three inches though just to help the grandkids play in it. :) ec

12/28/2005 06:27:00 PM  
Blogger Bonita said...

I would think your children would be enchanted to see the snow, but, as I recall my little ones back then, they would spend 5 minutes in it, then want to come back inside.

When we love passionately, we always find a way to acknowledge our Friend, just a heartbeat away.

12/28/2005 08:06:00 PM  
Blogger mreddie said...

bonita - You are so right, all of us are just a heartbeat from meeting the One responsible for our creation. He gives me a choice and my choice is to live in His presence for eternity! That's exciting to me! ec

12/28/2005 10:09:00 PM  
Blogger adannells said...

I live in the Puget Sound of Western Washington and we usually don't get much snow. So when we get even an inch you can bet that everyone goes crazy. There is breaking news all over the tv with reporters standing next to cars with their index finger stuck in the snow showing that it goes all the way up to their first knuckle! Even the little bit of snow though looks so pretty. God blesses us even with the little things.

12/28/2005 11:54:00 PM  
Blogger mreddie said...

adannells - Thanks for stopping by the patch. Even on the rare occasion we do get snow it's usually in Jan. or Feb. You guys get a lot of rain don't you? ec

12/29/2005 09:00:00 AM  

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