BIG snows

I started this post a week ago in solidarity with my sister's family and the Woolly Mammoth at the beginning of the Washington, D.C. area's Snowpocalyse. It never occurred to me that the DFW area would have its own record-setting snow. Our nine inches yesterday tied a record for the most snow in any one calendar day. Nevermind that it will be long gone before the pot of split pea soup.

"This winter is like the big snows of the Sixties," says the helpful shoveler at Dad's house in Lincoln. On Christmas Day they got 9.5 inches, and it wasn't slushy and quick-to-melt like here. Lincoln has had 38" of snow so far this season, bringing it into the top ten winter totals, with weeks to go. That's the word from the High Plains Region Climate Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

I remember walking to Eastridge Elementary between piled up snow taller than me. It was like a snow lab rat maze. Other times we walked atop the hard-crusted drifts right down the middle of the streets. As a teacher, I try to imagine the logistical nightmares in those Sixties schoolrooms getting all the kiddies into their snowpants and galoshes and mittens-on-strings...
Life for my mother was pretty hectic in the early Sixties. When this picture of my brother was taken my sister was an infant and I had not yet started kindergarten. That the winter snow film wasn't developed until July 1960 is a good indication that time and money were in short supply. I was looking through a box for photos that only exist in my mind, but the images are very clear in my memory.

On February 11, 1965, Lincoln got 19" of snow, part of the snowiest month on record, with 26.1 inches. That must have been a rough year for parents of bickering children stuck inside with cabin fever. I know exactly what I was wearing (black stretch pants with foot stirrups, tan/white/black horizontal stripe knit top) when my mom hit her limit. We were all going OUTSIDE, and we were going to WALK up to Clark Jeary nursing home at Eldon Drive and A Street(Mapquest says it is 0.76 mi.) and back in the snow. Mom would pull the sled so my sister and brother could ride some of the time. At the time it seemed to be uphill all the way, both ways, which isn't true, of course. We were properly bundled, but the cold and exertion knocked a lot of obnoxious belligerence out of us. When my boys were young I was often near that parental point, but without the snow cure available!

Great snowfalls of my memory in Lincoln, Nebraska, according to National Weather Service archives:

--Jan. 3, 1971, 11.4"
--Dec. 18, 1973, 9.7"
--Mar. 19, 1977, 8.3"
--Mar. 26, 1983, 7.6"

Results of one blizzard are still very evident in the city. The October 26 storm of 1997 with 13.2" of heavy snow devastated Lincoln trees that had not yet lost their leaves.

I walked around the condominiums this noon and was glad to see only one tree with a big fallen branch. Last week's pruning probably helped spare us other damage.

© 2010 Nancy L. Ruder

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