I loved it as a kid of course. I grew up in Port Chester, NY, a village just northeast of New York City, bordering Connecticut – and sits right on Long Island Sound. The ocean has a huge influence on snowfall, and it is usually adverse. Unless positioned just right with an adequate amount of cold air to the north, the storm systems moving up the coast have a habit of drawing in the relatively warmer air over the Atlantic. This typically turns falling snow into rain about midway through the storm. I just hated that – and it happened more often than not. I always felt cheated as a couple of inches of pristine snow turned into a slushy mess as the air mass warmed and turned the flakes into raindrops.
There were some memorable snowstorms and blizzards, however, when I was a kid. My favorite was dubbed the Lindsay-Storm in February 1969. Mayor Lindsay of New York City was widely criticized for his ability, or in this case, inability to clear the metro area of over 20 inches of snow. The worst hit was Queens which was snowbound for days.
I remember the storm vividly. There was a chance for an inch or two before it was forecasted to turn to rain. That didn’t happen, and the meteorologists were taken by surprised by the intensity of the storm. As it turned out, I broke my arm three days before in a track meet. I was a freshman in high school and I was tripped within the first 10-20 yards of a 440 yard run. In bracing for the fall, my left elbow took the brunt of the force. Snap. I got up and finished the race, and it was only after I calmed down that I realized how much my arm was hurting. Incidentally, I badly scraped my right arm at the same time – it was almost like a burn. The scar still remains visible.
Anyhow, with a broken arm, I couldn’t shovel the driveway. That task was left to my father. The snow was so heavy, that school was closed for days (4 if I remember correctly). The snow fell on a Sunday and school was cancelled through Thursday.
Another memorable storm, one that can never be experienced again, was the blizzard of 1978 which hit the Midwest. I was a graduate psychology student at the University of Notre Dame. South Bend, Indiana received nearly 40 inches of snow - a total that I will never forget. I believe there was also about a foot of snow on the ground before the storm hit. Classes at Notre Dame were canceled for the first time in its history – and they were shut for a number of days.
You can probably sense my love for snow – who else can remember such stupid facts. When my wife and I moved to Milwaukee in 1986, I was hoping to living in a land of heavy snow. Sadly, that hasn’t been quite the case. True, it snows a fair amount in Milwaukee, but we don’t seem to get the huge storms. There have been some nice 10-15 inch snowfalls over the years, but Milwaukee seems to get a lot of 2-4 inch snowfalls – which add up of course. Generally, though, we seem too far north with no big or particularly close source of moisture (the biggest being the Gulf of Mexico). Sigh.
One of these days, though, maybe we’ll get on of those Midwest super-bombs like 1978….