Saturday, January 7, 2012

Memories of the Storm of 1973

As I begin to write this piece, the weather service is predicting the Atlanta area including Douglasville will not have any significant thawing until Friday.

It looks like the ice is here to stay, and stay and stay.

We haven't been off our property since Saturday. We anticipated the snow and ice with lots of excitement tempered with a modicum of skepticism. After all, the weather folks tend to make their predictions. We make the mad dash to load up on supplies, and then we are rewarded with enough milk, bread and eggs to feed a small army a substantial breakfast of French toast, but usually the snow and ice barely make an appearance.

This time was different.

The official Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport measure for snow and ice we have received is 3.7 inches. My official porch measurement here at Cooper Central is more like 5.5 inches, be I won't argue. As a result, we faced on Wednesday our third day of closures and our third day in the house together as a family.

It has experience. We are not yet at one another's throats, but each one of us is getting a bit restless in our own way. We have plenty of food. We have heat. We have power for our laptops and televisions, and we can charge those precious cell phones. It is a great time to watch a movie together, begin a project or just read a good book.

So far I've heard this recent weather event referred to as Snowmageddon and Snowpocalypse, but those names were used for storms in 2010. Since our current storm has included snow and ice, I've seen it referred to as SNICE 2011....a combination of "snow" and "ice". Then again, the nickname the "Storm of 2011" is a great identifier as well.

Storms are nothing new to Douglasville citizens. Using a nickname for them helps us to remember the details and keep them straight much as we tend to give political treaties and agreements formal names.

Storms similar to what we are enduring now most certainly leave an indelible mark on our psyches. Many of today's 40 and 50-somethings were young children and teens in 1973. Ask any of them why they dash off to the store at the hint of snow or ice, and they will recount how that particular storm affected them. They remember the fun of being children and camping out for a time in their living rooms, but they also look back as adults and realize what can happen if you are caught unaware.

The Storm of 1973 began early in the afternoon of January 7th with a heavy dousing of freezing rain and sleet across the metro area, including Douglasville. Weather resources advise that between 7 and 9 p.m. a liquid equivalent of 2.25 inches of freezing rain and sleet had fallen. By the time the ice stopped January 8th, the area had received 1 to 4 inches of ice.

As a young girl of 11, I remember how the pine trees bowed low to the ground because they were so laden with ice. It was beautiful, but by nightfall the beauty was marred by terrifying sounds.

Bob Smith of Douglasville remembers hearing what sounded like gunfire until he realized the sound was limbs snapping off the pine trees in his parent's yard. The trees simply could not withstand the weight of the ice, and the pop, snap, crash sounds continued all night long and into the following days. Smith says some of the trees lost limbs, while others broke in half. He says a tree in his back yard still has growth scar damage from the storm...

THANK YOU for visiting “Every Now and Then” and reading “Memories of the Storm of 1973“ which is now one of the 140 chapters in my book “Every Now and Then: The Amazing Tales of Douglas County, Volume I”.

Visit the Amazon link by clicking the book cover below where you can explore the table of contents and read a few pages of the book.... plus make a purchase if you choose!

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