January 3, 2002

What if?

by Chris Feeney

What if Buffalo, New York, could have sent us some of that white stuff they are being pounded by so that the rest of us could have had a white Christmas as well? Can you imagine waking up in the morning to find two feet of snow? Of course it probably was difficult to tell how much one got overnight as there was already another four feet on the ground, bringing the snow total as high as six plus feet in areas of the city since Christmas Eve.

Then there are the poor folks of northeast Missouri who were teased by some brief flurries a few days before the winter holidays, but have yet to see a significant snow. Heck it was just this past week that temperatures finally got cold enough to begin freezing area ponds and lakes. That has been a welcomed event for area ice fishermen and those ready for their ice skating parties.

But we still are lacking snow. Is it just me, or do we no longer get as much snow as we used to? I hate to sound like I am complaining, yeah my back aches just like the next person's after shoveling the driveway, but I still miss it. I'm not the only one. I suspect the retailers around town are missing it too, as they are not selling any of those snow shovels, sleds, ice melt or sand bags. The kids have to be going through a little snowman withdrawal, plus they have not got to miss a single snow day yet this year.

Like I said I was curious if there was a trend developing here where someone is holding out on us as far as snow goes. So I got on the Internet and did some research. The best I could do was a site related to the National Weather Service that had historical records for both St. Louis and Columbia. That's right, no one has built a snow statistics record web page for Scotland County yet. And I thought you could find just about everything on the net.

I'm not sure if these numbers totally prove my point, but the top 10 snowiest years in St. Louis all fell before 1980. Columbia had similar results with one exception, 1995, when the region received 35.3 inches for the year. That was a bit of a weird year, I remember, because I was still residing in the region after recently graduating from MU. Believe it or not but Columbia got a record 19.7 inches of snow on January 18-19 in a freak storm that centered around the mid-Missouri region, and really did not even hit Scotland County.

Okay, so toss out the freak storm of 1995 and neither of the mid-Missouri cities have had an excessive snow year since 1980. But there is still some hope, as I also learned that December has never been the snowiest month for either city. Believe it or not but March had the most record snow numbers, followed by several February marks and a few January records.

Even if we do finally get some snow in January or February, or even March, it is doubtful it will approach the winter of 1978, which set a record for consecutive days of snow cover on the ground at 71. That's right, for 71 straight days there was snow on the ground.

Now that I have said all of this, please refrain from pelting me with snowballs if for some reason we get a blizzard. I know that this may be jinxing us, you know like when the sports announcer tells you how good a free throw shooter the player is and then he immediately misses both free throws.

If all this talk of cold weather and snow and ice is making you yearn for warmer days, just remember a few months ago you were complaining to everyone about how hot it was.

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