White Christmas Disappointment

Dreams of a White Christmas melted away with Wednesday's spring rain storm. So Tony looks back at some memorable White Christmas Days of yester-year!



This Dream Didn’t Come True

During Thanksgiving week I devoted a blog to a blockbuster weather pattern that had White Thanksgiving and Christmas prospects written all over it. There was and still is a mother load of cold arctic air in Canada. There was and still is an active Southern storm track. Adding 1 + 1, I came up with a forecast of 2 snowstorms before Christmas and made the strong inference that a White Christmas could very well be in the cards.

Well here we are on Christmas eve and despite a very cold 5 weeks of weather and frequent light snows, our ground is bare not only in Logan, Gallipolis and Grayson, but also in the West Virginia mountains.

Sure the pond at my house was frozen solid twice; sure we have been salting roads at a very high pace this year (by my count 9 times). But when push came to shove, moisture laden warm Gulf of Mexico air has flooded northward and melted all ponds and even the snows in the high country.

So unless you are listening to your favorite radio station and Bing Crosby’s White Christmas ballad, our dreams for this year have ended.

Of course, the Christmas song of all time has to be Crosby’s White Christmas. Written in 1942 by Irving Berlin, the song was immortalized by Da Binger in the movie Holiday Inn back in 1954. With a star studded cast including Rosemary Clooney (my mom’s favorite) and Danny Kaye, the movie version is sure to show up on cable this holiday season. I have been fortunate to have experienced a dozen or so White Christmas’ in my lifetime and must admit I yearn for another badly!

Other Christmasy signs include the glistening aura of the Winter Wonderland of lights in Ashland and the Fantasy of Lights display at Krodell Park in Mason County. Chief Logan State Park and Coonskin in Charleston offer beautiful light displays through New Years.

A look back shows that as for this century, only one of the first 9 Christmas days have been coated with snow. Back in 2003, Christmas morn dawned partly sunny as the kids raced downstairs to open the cargo Santa had hauled from the North Pole. By 8 AM as mom and dad were saluting the morning with a glass of egg nog and the French toast was dripping off the skillet, snow squalls arrived on a passing arctic front. By 10AM 1”-2” of snow had fallen from Huntington south into Lincoln County and for much of Southern West Virginia. Charleston too had the ground whitened. Who says they don’t believe in miracles?

But just as fast as the snow arrived in 2007, it quickly ended. The sun returned and by early afternoon, the ground was again bare as the sticky morning wet snow succumbed to the warmth of the December sun.

As for my most memorable Christmas morning during my 21 year stint with WSAZ, I quote from my memoirs from 1989.

“This Christmas morning is like none other that I have ever seen. The air is so cold that rime has coated the trees with sheen of ice. There is magic in the air this Christmas morn as the ground is white, and the treetops shiny. The air temperature is below zero with barely a breath of wind. Driving back from church I have a surreal feel. Is this really Huntington or the Klondike?”

One other White Christmas is worth noting as it may well have inspired me to be a meteorologist. Back in 1966, I was an 8 year old in Philadelphia who was enthralled by the weather, especially snow! An old fashioned blizzard blew into town on Christmas eve and buried the city with 10 inches of the fluffy white. Thunder and lightning would give this storm legendary status in my memory bank. To this day, this is still the one of the most memorable weather events in my lifetime!

So here’s hoping for a White Christmas next year!

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah and Kwanza.

Tony
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