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Between the past and the future, the question of snow

Posted Tuesday, December 1, 2009, at 1:22 PM

The Southeast Missourian runs a feature called "Out of the past" that resurrects old news stories from years ago. Today, there is an entry than mentions Marshall -- and snow.

75 years ago: Dec. 1, 1934

A Cape Girardeau family got a real taste of winter during the Thanksgiving holiday; Mr. and Mrs. R.E.L. Lamkin and son, Jack, were marooned in a snowstorm at Marshall, Mo., where they were visiting Mr. Lamkin's mother, Mrs. J.C. Lamkin; the snow measured about 1 1/2 feet, and the thermometer went several degrees below freezing.

I've heard from people who have lived in Marshall for a long time who remember winters past when the snow was always deep. I grew up in northeast Iowa, and I, too, remember winters where the snow was always deep (and the temps were always 20 below -- always). I remember drifts so high we could walk right onto the roof of the new junior high school. I remember delivering newspapers in whiteout blizzards.

Ah, the good old days -- days that people move south to avoid.

Lately, though, winters in the Midwest have been comparatively mild. The weather last year didn't even qualify as a real winter, in my book.

But after a cool, wet summer and a cool, wet fall and with a forecast calling for lows in the teens this week, I think I'm not alone in suspecting we might see a 1934-ish type winter this year. A recent poll on The Marshall Democrat-News Web site backs me up.

When do you think the first measurable snowfall of the season will occur in Saline County?

* The first half of December: 33.2% (109 votes)

* The second half of December: 32.9% (108 votes)

* The first half of January: 13.1% (43 votes)

* The second half of January: 6.1% (20 votes)

* The first half of February: 1.8% (6 votes)

* The second half of February: 0.9% (3 votes)

* Never: 4.3% (14 votes)

* I don't make predictions: 7.6% (25 votes)

328 votes cast

A clear majority expects the first measureable snow this month. A few voters added comments, too, from the extreme ("I predict 12 inches of snow on Dec. 15 and flash flood warnings on Dec. 17.") to the cautious ("when God says so") to the irrelevant but dependable ("Very nice site! cheap viagra").

The cool-wet trend may be a harbinger of things to come, or it may not. The Old Farmer's Almanac predicts colder than normal temperatures for the region including Iowa, most of Missouri and eastern sides of Nebraska and Kansas. Our area will be generally wet, but with less than normal snowfall.

After spending no time at all studying climate trends and meteorological prognostications, I'm willing to go out on a limb and state with certainty that it'll snow when it snows. And this year, it might actually snow.

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Eric, I tried to comment on Wells Blog and the site would not take. here it is:

What a great list of movies. I have seen 15 of the 25 and they were all good. The 10 movies I hadn't seen I checked out on Rotton Tomatoes and they were all rated very highly. I have added these 10 to my Netflix quey. Thanks so much for the tips.

-- Posted by izaak on Tue, Jan 12, 2010, at 9:18 PM

Ha! Lots of laugh-out-louds, OK Reader! I love the snow and hope we do get a measurable amount!

-- Posted by Green Eyes on Tue, Dec 1, 2009, at 4:37 PM

Eric I think you are giv'n us a snow job.

-- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Tue, Dec 1, 2009, at 1:47 PM

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Eric Crump is a former editor of The Marshall Democrat-News. He lives elsewhere now but still loves Marshall and Saline County. He's trying to catch up on all the stories he should have written while he was on staff.
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