Please read this...86 feet of snow...and other musings
This week, we're going to start with a few numbers: 1,035.2, 86.3 and 113.
We'll get back to those numbers in just a bit. First up, allow me to make a bit of a serious observation.
One day last week, your intrepid observer of The Journey Through Life was motoring back to The Paragraph Factory after a break for lunch. The journey generally takes me on a rather uneventful, and rather quick, trip along old U.S. Route 51 between Cobden and Anna.
On the day of this particular journey, a funeral procession was making its way along Route 51. What I saw as the procession made its journey was quite impressive, and made me glad to live in a small town.
At several points along the way, on Route 51, folks actually stopped and pulled off the road as a sign of respect. Such a simple gesture, yet so profound...
...now, let's get back to those numbers you saw in the first paragraph.
Last week, the National Weather Service office in Paducah posted a list of "Historic Snowstorms Around the Quad State Region" on its website, www.weather.gov/pah.
All together, the weather service list featured 75 historic snowstorms which had occurred in Southern Illinois, Southeast Missouri, Western Kentucky and southwest Indiana.
The most recent historic snowstorm on the list happened on Jan. 22, 2016. Not quite so recent: a snowstorm which happened on Dec. 29-30, 1895.
The list included snowstorms which have happened in January, February, March, April, October, November and December. Oddly, the region hasn't had any historic snowstorms in May, June, July, August or September. Yet.
I actually remembered a fair number of the historic snowstorms. One which occurred back in late February of 1979 particularly stands out. We had something like 20 feet of snow with that one. Then, there was the blizzard which happened on the day after Christmas in 2012. Special memories. I think.
Some of the snowfall amounts recorded in Anna during the historic storms were pretty impressive: 16 inches on Dec. 26 (and 28), 2012; 20 inches on Feb. 25-26, 1970; and 12.2 inches on Dec. 7-9, 1917.
Just for the sake of old times, I went back through the files of digital images which we have available at The Paragraph Factory and shared some pictures from two of the historic snowstorms which happened in Union County. One of the pics is from the 2012 blizzard. The other image is from a March 2015 snow storm. In both cases, it would have made much more sense for the photographer (that would be me) to have stayed inside.
We don't have digital images from the February 1979 snowstorm, which truly was historic. We also don't have any digital images from the first storm on the list, the one back in 1895. For obvious reasons, mainly 'cause there wasn't any digital photography.
After taking an initial look at the list of historic snowstorms, I decided to do a couple of those things which would suggest that yours truly has more time on his hands than he knows what to do with, which really isn't the case.
I looked at the information which had been posted about each of the storms on the list. All 75 of them. From 1895 to 2016. For some reason, in my simple little mind, I thought it might be interesting to determine the amount of snow which had fallen in those 75 storms.
I looked at each storm, and the most amount of snow which had been reported in each of the storms, whether they happened in Southern Illinois, Southeast Missouri, Western Kentucky or southwest Indiana.
The total was a rather staggering 1,035.2 inches, which is a rather more staggering 86.3 feet. And that would be 604.1 feet, in dog feet, if there is such a thing. I don't know about you, but I find such numbers to be fascinating, although they don't make much sense, mainly because they're so ridiculous. After all, we're never going to have 86 feet of snow around here. Right?
By the way, just in case you were interested: 113 years ago, on Jan. 25-26, the folks in Anna were digging out of 4 inches of snow. At least it wasn't 86 feet.