This & That

Story published: 02-06-2013 • Print ArticleE-mail Story to a Friend

Snow and cold temperatures are upon us

By Jack Swift

Well, I told anyone who would listen that we would pay for all those unseasonal warm spring-like days we had and the weather weíve had the last three or four days proves me right. As Iím writing this column, snow is coming down with already about six inches of the white stuff on the ground. It sure has been cold for the last few days too.

As Iíve written before, I have seen many changes in the weather since I was born. I remember that cold weather and snow began earlier when I was young. Now it may be January before we have any snow. Of course we kept as warm as possible with a fireplace in the living room and the heat from our wood cook stove. Somehow, I didnít mind the cold weather as much back then.

Iím not complaining about the weather, especially since I received an email with a video showing the coldest town on earth. The population of that town was said to be 2200. In 1926 the temperature plummeted to minus 71degrees. That is the record cold for that town but to show you how cold it gets there, students attend classes as long as the temperature doesnít fall below minus 52 degrees. The name of the town is Oymyakon and it is located in Siberia. I believe I would catch the first bus out of there and move to balmier climes.

Johnson County and Mountain City can also boast of low temperatures. The coldest of record was the cold spell of December 30, 1917 when the temperature plunged to minus 32 degrees. As Iíve written before I was at Fort Eustis, Virginia on December 6, 1962 when I learned that Mountain City was the coldest place in the United States at that time ó minus 25 degrees. While I love the great county I grew up in, Fort Eustis seemed to be a pretty good place to be at that time.

I have mixed emotions about snow. It certainly is beautiful as it blankets the stark countryside. No doubt many poems have been written extolling the beauty of snow. But it has its down side as well. Snow covered roads cause accidents. Falls on icy and snowy areas cause a lot of trouble.

This recent snow caused me to think more about the white stuff. My dictionary says snow is a ďsmall tabular columnar white transparent often branched crystals of frozen water that are formed directly from the water vapor of the air at a temperature of less tan 32 degrees and belong to the hexagonal system of crystallization.Ē Snow comes down in different forms. While I was out shoveling the walk it was almost as if I were being pelted with hail the snowflakes were so small and hard. Later in the day, I noticed the flakes had become larger and fluffier. Snowflakes can become so heavy and large that power lines and tree limbs break and that can cause a lot of trouble.

One thing that helps us bear the cold and snow is that it finally ceases and we can look forward to warmer weather. When the leaves begin to form on the trees and when we smell the good earth as itís plowed for the summer crops, the snow and cold we are experiencing will be only a memory.