Opinion: Snowy memories

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Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! Last Wednesday, that is exactly what it did! Wow, it was beautiful! And it came down so heavy and so fast, and for quite a while too! It has been years since we experienced a snowfall like this in our area.

The last somewhat significant snowfall that I remember having here was on New Year’s Eve in the year 2000. The snow that began falling that night was somewhat of a surprise. It was also the night of the Independence Bowl which featured Mississippi State vs.Texas A&M. This game  quickly became known as the “Snow Bowl.” Officially, 2.2 inches of a somewhat unexpected snowfall was measured at the National Weather Service in Shreveport. By the way, sorry Aggie fans, Mississippi State won the “Snow Bowl” 43-41 in overtime, in one of, if not the most memorable Independence Bowls ever played.

RandyThough I was not at the game due to long standing and traditional New Year’s Eve dinner reservations with my then long time girlfriend at a restaurant just south of the Spring Street viaduct, on a hill, overlooking the railroad switch yard in Shreveport. I watched the first part of the game on TV and then set the VCR (remember those?) to record the rest of the game and then, we left for dinner. I started watching my recorded version of the game upon returning home. On television, it appeared to be coming an all out blizzard. Mississippi State was wearing all white uniforms with white helments. The high powered lighting system at Independence stadium really magnified the falling snow. Mississippi State was barely visible on the white football field in their white uniforms. In fact, I think I remember Mississippi State scoring a touchdown on the Aggies due to their invisibility on the field.

At dinner, I began to get cell phone calls and messages from friends living out of state who were watching the game on television and seeing the appearance of the blizzard like conditions in Shreveport! I played it up quite a bit but in the end, I admitted to everyone that it was not nearly as bad as the lights made it appear on television. I remember coming out of the restaurant and peering over into the bed of my pick up truck, the snow was DEEP, or so I wanted to think!

Through my years at BPT, I have heard David Specht mention many times that he and Clint Land (former BPT Managing Editor) were at the “Snow Bowl” game. After the game, they rode around Bossier City for most of the rest of the night taking photos of both the snow and the associated weather related traffic mishaps, etc. Yes, not many of us that grew up here know how to drive in such weather conditions – we simply don’t have the experience because weather like this doesn’t happen very often in our part of the country.

I also remember it snowing here in February of 1985, my final semester during my senior year at LSU Shreveport. We experienced an officially recorded 4.4” snowfall that stayed on the ground for several days. I remember going to rent a front wheel drive car for a few days just to make getting around easier.

At the time it happened, the New Year’s Eve 2000 “Snow Bowl” event was the highest recorded snowfall in the Shreveport-Bossier City area since February of 1985. We came close to the 4.4 inches of snow last Wednesday with an officially recorded 4 inches of snow here in Bossier City.

I can remember growing up here in the 1970s and back then, we experienced snow here pretty often. Never often enough for being a kid, but way more often than we get snowfall these days. I remember a pretty severe ice storm that happened here in the early 70′ s that had things shut down for several days. I also remember the severe ice storms that we experienced in 1983, the year the Red River froze solid for the first time in over 100 years, and of course, the 2000 ice storm that stifled our area for well over a week. During the 2000 storm, many households in our area were without power for weeks.

Speaking of power outages, I would like to commend SWEPCO for the preparatory work they have done over the past few. Also, a well deserved salute to our police and fire departments, our other emergency response personnel, and our homeland security/emergency preparedness officials.

The winter weather was beautiful last week, however it was good to get back to work and also good to get back to somewhat of a normal routine. According to current forecasts, there is also a possibility that we may experience some more winter type weather this coming week. However, winter will soon come to an end in a few weeks. In fact, this weekend, the time changes again – as we will all Spring forward! So, Spring is indeed close.

Randy Brown is Publisher of the Bossier Press-Tribune. He can be reached at rbrown@bossierpress.com