Saturday, February 26, 2011

Speaking of the Weather

There have been several articles in the papers about the amount of snow we have had this winter.  I found a really nice chart online listing the top 25 snowfalls in Detroit.  I wondered how many of the top 25 I could remember (sixteen happened before I was born).

The heaviest one in 1886 was slightly before I was born and totalled 24.5 inches.  I wonder how long it took them to clear the roads.  It happened on April 6 so I am guessing Memorial Day?

While I would love to tell my children about how I had to walk to school uphill, both ways, through snow up to my waist, not one large snowfall occurred during the 1950's.  But, I certainly do remember #21 in February, 1965 at 11 inches. 

I was a freshman at Wayne State and road the 8 Mile bus to the State Fairgrounds and then the Woodward bus to campus.  Classes were cancelled for that Thursday and Friday.  The following Monday I set out at my regular time and it took me three hours to reach campus instead of the usual one plus, depending on connections.  I missed my morning class.  And now folks want the entire mess gone in hours, not days.

December of 1973 saw another two-day storm deliver 11.2 inches, but the following year, on Sunday, December 1, a whopping 19.3 inches began to fall, making it the second heaviest snowfall in history.  Someplace in my old slides I have a picture of myself standing in a tunnel of snow in my driveway.  I am guessing it might be that 19 inch snowfall.

Other storms in the list include January snow in 1982, 1992, 1994, 1999, and 2005, all dropping 10-12 inches (see a pattern here?).  And then at #24 is the storm on February 20-21 this year at 10.2 inches.

But one of my most memorable snowfalls happened in 1977.  On Sunday, November 27, Detroit received 5.6 inches of precipitation, the highest snowfall recorded in a single day in November.  My mother-in-law had come in from Chicago to visit us, including our new baby, for the Thanksgiving holiday.  She was supposed to fly home on Sunday afternoon.  We woke up to what the weatherman had said would be 'flurries, no accumulation', same thing he said in 1974.  He kept saying that as we watched the white-out conditions outside the window and saw flights get canceled.  Mom went home on Tuesday.  'Nuf said.

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