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From the Publisher's Desk – Weather outside is frightful (Feb. 25, 2015 issue)

“When will it end? I’m ready for spring.” These are all commonly heard statements around town, grocery stores, churches and our many social circles.
I must say that I am among the minority that enjoys this time of year. Snows remind me of my childhood and they simply amaze me. Did you know that all snowflakes have six sides? It’s hard to believe but true.
“The oxygen atom has a particularly strong attraction to the electron clouds of the two hydrogen atoms and pulls them closer. This leaves the two hydrogen ends more positively charged, and the center of the ‘V’ more negatively charged. When other water molecules ‘brush up”’against this growing snowflake, strong forces between the negatively charged and positively charged parts of different particles cause them to join together in a very specific three-dimensional pattern with a six-sided symmetry. Each water molecule that joins the snowflake reflects this pattern until eventually we can see its macroscopic six-sided shape.”
I like to look at it that God made it that way and everything he made is amazing. No matter how much science breaks down the processes, there is still so much more beyond our knowledge of how this great Earth works. We haven’t even scratched the surface.
The USA averages 105 snow producing storms per year. A typical storm will have a two to five day lifetime and drop snow in multiple states. This year may change that statistic. No matter how much we complain about our snowfalls, they are like a mere dusting compared to snows in the northern states this year.
According to ABC News, Boston state plows have already moved enough snow to fill Gillette Stadium 90 times, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said. As of Feb. 9, Boston has plowed snow for over 112,881 hours. That is from 619 operators on duty and 460 active plows.
They are also using large snow melters. Backhoes fill the melter tanks up to melt 350 tons of snow per hour. I have some friends who live in New York. They recently told me that they were having to haul snow out by large truckloads. There was no where left to push it.
ABC also reported that Boston has used 57,500 tons of salt, or the weight of 8,200 elephants. The average elephant weighs about 7 tons.
The city has plowed over 210,000 miles of snow, the equivalent of 52.5 Amazon Rivers. The Amazon River is one of the longest rivers in the world at 4,000 miles long.
I sure don’t wish to experience snow to those levels. I would be wishing for spring or moving. I do, however, remember larger snowfalls as a youngster. Maybe part of it was just my shorter size made the snows seem deeper.
Since learning to drive, I have never had a vehicle that wasn’t equipped with four-wheel drive. I have taken to the road in trucks, SUVs and cars, but all had snow capability. My current automobile has a gross weight of 6,492 pounds, so it takes a lot to move it. Often I have driven to work just fine without taking precaution. It is when I get out and nearly fall on the pavement, that I realize it might be a bit slick.
That’s not to say I have always been able to get to my destination. Having lived on a side road off of Spivey for most of my life, brought many challenges. There were times I got as far as I could go and then hiked the remainder in. That included the time I had to lift my legs high to get them out of the snow and sink them back up to knee level again to take a step forward.
As a student in Unicoi County School System, I would get up early and listen to WEMB radio in hopes of hearing school was dismissed. Those words were beautiful to this young boy. Too bad to go to school didn’t mean too bad to play outside.
Watching TV might require an occasional sweeping off of the antenna. Most channels already had a different type of “snow” as we called it. Later I swept off the large satellite dish and then the DirecTV dish.
Growing up and being employed took some of the glimmer from my snow flake. Working for a newspaper means life never stops and the presses don’t either. A lot of snow is just a requirement to get out and make photos to share in print for our readers. At least I can watch the beauty from my office window.
I am grateful for our wonderful highway departments who do such a wonderful job of clearing the roads in conditions that are sometimes unsafe. Even when I lived on Spivey they would come up our side road and scrape and salt before I ever left out for work.
So, let’s just hold in there a little longer and then we can all complain about too much rain, it’s too hot or some other weather related situation.