Folks from Northern climes may not realize just how fascinating snow is to those who grew up where "winter" means "temperatures may dip into the 40s at night". The last noticeable snow in Houston occurred a few years back when I was working in a downtown highrise. I heard a coworker cry "Look! It's snowing!", then you could practically feel the building tilt to one side as everyone raced to the windows to ooh and aah at the wonder of it all. All this for a light dusting that had no chance of accumulating.
Back in 1985 when I was a freshman at Trinity, San Antonio was hit by a snowstorm that dumped 13 inches of the white stuff on the River City. The snow started on Friday night and continued through Saturday. To say that San Antonio was completely paralyzed by this is to understate. As far as I could tell, San Antonio drivers (not the best on the road under any conditions to begin with) believed that since their tires weren't getting good traction, the solution was to floor it and hope for the best. The result was predictable. Then-Mayor Henry Cisneros spent a lot of time on TV during the storm imploring people to stay at home.
There was a lot of excitement about the snow on campus as well. Trinity draws a lot of its students from Texas and neighboring states, so there were a lot of snow virgins. One friend of mine, from Florida, wanted to play in the snow naked. We managed to convince her that this was not as good an idea as she thought. Overall, the main effect was that all the trays disappeared from the cafeteria. Trinity is on a hill, and it has these large stairways that go from lower campus (where the dorms are) to upper campus (where the academic buildings are), and when covered with snow they made an excellent sled run, with the trays serving as sleds. We had a tray shortage in the cafeteria for the rest of the year.
Classes were cancelled on Monday, even though the roads were starting to clear. They have these raised lane markers in Texas (known as Botts Dots) which prevented the use of snowplows, but by Monday temps were back in the 50s and the snow was rapidly losing its grip on the city. By Tuesday, it was if everyone had had enough of the snow - the day was bright and sunny, the high in the 70s. I actually saw a few people sunbathing amid dying snowbanks. The last remnants were gone by that evening.
Personally, I've experienced all the snow I'll ever need. Wake me when it's warm again, OK?Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 13, 2003 to The great state of Texas | TrackBack