Thursday, January 07, 2010


The Weather-Pundits are predicting a shot of wintry weather here in north-central Georgia beginning sometime this afternoon. Snow, even.

It doesn’t take a whole lot of ice and snow to render this part of the country helpless. Snowplows are thin on the ground, as is salting and sanding equipment. When the roads get icy, all you can do is hope the idiot in the lane next to you - or behind you - knows not to brake or accelerate sharply, or to make sudden moves of any kind. And the hills just add to the excitement.

I’m not expecting anything like the storm we got here twenty-eight years ago, during our very first January in Atlanta - the well-remembered Snow Jam ’82. That was a real mess: snow, followed by ice, then more snow. It was four days before we could get out of the neighborhood.

Cold weather per se is not all that unusual here, although a sustained period of below-freezing temperatures like the one we’re experiencing now doesn’t happen often. It’s been colder, though. In 1985, an arctic air mass swept down from Canada on January 20 and 21, knocking the temperature down to -8°F (it was -10° here in Marietta), within a degree or so of the all-time low for the area. What was especially nasty about that cold snap was the inability of Atlanta Gas Light to push enough natural gas through the distribution grid to keep up with demand. Pressure fell, dropping enough to activate the safety shutoff switch on our furnace. That’s right: no heat on the coldest day in over 80 years. [Fortunately, we were able to get the furnace lit after things outside had warmed up a bit.]

No such low temperatures are predicted for us right now. Just snow. And I will cop to being just a little excited about it. It’s that Little Kid part of my reptilian hindbrain, in which are buried the snowstorm-related memories of my earliest days.

Tonight will be a perfect time to light a fire in the fireplace and slurp down a hot cocoa or two.

Update: It has begun...

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