Dimon Kendrick-Holmes: Random thoughts from a snowstorm

January 31, 2014 

OK, let's go ahead and tackle the big question: Can you really call a weather system involving 1.2 inches of snow a "snowstorm"?

Technically, no.

In Minnesota, for example, 1.2 inches of snow is not a snowstorm. It's called springtime.

But think about this: A snowstorm in Minnesota causes everybody to stock up on milk and other critical supplies, park the car for several days and hole up at home until the roads are clear.

That's exactly what happened here in the Chattahoochee Valley.

So then, yes, we did just experience a snowstorm. Ours just required about 100 fewer inches of snow than the ones up North.

Maybe a more accurate term would be "winter storm." Burrow down beneath the 1.2 inches of snow, and you'll find the root of the problem.

That would be what forecasters call the "wintry mix," which sounds like something you'd serve at a party -- a cocktail with peppermint or at least some Chex cereal dusted with powdered sugar. It's really a mix of snow and rain, and as we all know by now, when that rain settles on roads and then the temperature plummets, you've got yourself a hockey rink.

Unless you have a Zamboni in your driveway, you'd best not drive on it.

I drove to work on Wednesday but slowly and carefully, as many of you did.

But one woman rode my bumper as I was crossing a frozen bridge, then sped past and proceeded to weave through traffic. I'm hoping she was raised in Alaska and had a set of snow tires.

People expressed recklessness in other ways. Two of my sons went camping and didn't even take a tent -- just their parachute hammocks and cold-weather sleeping bags. That's one way to find out if Dad's new health insurance plan works.

I did get one pleasant surprise: Angry calls from newspaper subscribers, who had their cup of coffee in one hand but not their Ledger-Enquirer in the other.

How could their newspaper possibly be late?

Um, look outside? That same snow and ice you see in your yard put a halt to the truck carrying all the newspapers and then presented a similar problem to our trusty army of paper carriers.

One guy even complained he was forced to go online and read the electronic edition that's included in his subscription. It was an exact replica of that day's Ledger-Enquirer, but it just wasn't the same as reading the news on newsprint.

The late delivery even motivated one of our Facebook friends to post a top 10 list of reasons to get the newspaper, including all the old favorites like lining birdcages, lighting fireplaces, mulching rose gardens, sopping up spills, stuffing packages, swatting flies and creating a warm bed for your pet rabbit.

Oh, and it's easier to hide behind than your iPad.

So people need their newspaper so much that it makes them angry when they don't get it? Hey, I have no problem with that.

But I'll add that more local people visited our website on Tuesday than any other day in our history. Maybe it was the weather-related news stories. Or the updated closing lists. Or the photo galleries of sledders and snowmen shot by photographers Mike Haskey, Robin Trimarchi and Joe Paull or contributed by readers.

I'd like to think it was the video footage of reporter Chuck Williams' ride-along with Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor.

Sample scene:

Chuck: "What's that?"

Sheriff Taylor (chipping highway ice with a hatchet): "That's ice."

Now the temperature is climbing again, and some folks are already wearing short pants.

The snowstorm feels long gone.

We had a few fender benders and a few lost work hours. We were out of our comfort zone but didn't do too much damage.

Yep, we survived.

Dimon Kendrick-Holmes, executive editor, dkholmes@ledger-enquirer.com.

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