Snow in DC jogs memories of local snows

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Folks in Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia are still digging out from the two to three feet of snow that blanketed their region over the weekend.

I love snow. Maybe that’s because I’ve seldom had to deal with it. Just as the grass is always greener on the other side, the snow always seems enticing, at least as long as it’s somewhere else, and I don’t have to shovel it or drive in it.

In my case, the snow has almost always been somewhere else. I was born and raised in south Mississippi, went to college in Tallahassee, Florida, and then promptly moved to Picayune after college. With the exception of a winter spent in Washington, DC, and a few business and personal trips, I’ve never been in a position to enjoy – or have to endure – the fluffy stuff.

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Not that my south Mississippi life has been totally devoid of snow.

My earliest memory of snow is one of my earliest memories of anything. I recall building a snowman with my parents in our yard in Gulfport. It was New Year’s Eve 1963. The Mississippi Gulf Coast received six to twelve inches of snow.

I also have childhood memories of the snow that fell in February 1973 when several inches blanketed much of south Mississippi.

Here in Picayune we’ve had snow that covers the ground anywhere from a couple of times in a decade to only once every two decades. The recurrence rate is a little higher in the northern end of the county.

Based on the weather records of surrounding stations, it is likely that the most snow we’ve received during the past couple of hundred winters is about one foot.

That’s not much compared to the two to three and one-half feet in parts of Virginia and Maryland on Friday and Saturday.

Fortunately, I vicariously enjoyed a bit of the big snow through friends who live in Virginia.

During the middle of last week, I e-mailed one of my college roommates who lives an hour west of Washington and asked if he had braved the crowds stocking up in advance of the coming Snowzilla. He assured me that he had stockpiled plenty of milk and toilet paper. Apparently the mad rush to the grocery stores is similar to what happens when a hurricane approaches our area with one big exception: if your power goes out, you don’t have to worry about the food in your freezer. Just take it outside.

Another college roommate lives thirty miles northwest of Washington. On Saturday his wife posted a photo on Facebook looking out their backdoor. The snow was already up to the door handle.

But winning the prize for enduring the greatest weather shock is a couple who just moved to northern Virginia from Picayune last month. He posted photos looking out on the whiteness behind his new home, including the sight of cars and trucks with snowdrifts higher than their hoods. His caption for the photos read, “And it’s still snowing….”

A cold rain is in store for us tonight, but no snow is in sight. The upside? No snow shoveling is in sight either.

By Skip Rigney