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Snow Day in Savannah put a damper on outdoor activities

For nearly a week the weather and the news warned of an impending winter storm that was to strike the southeast midweek in the last week of January.

Ice coated leaves and shrubs and cold temperatures, but no snow for Savannah residents
BJ English
Ice coats the shrubs and leaves of trees in Savannah, but not nearly as bad as predicted.
BJ English

While temperatures soared into the mid seventies the day before the storm was to hit Savannah and the bright sun shone upon the earth, it was hard to take the winter warnings too seriously.

We had just recovered from three days of freezing weather with night time temperatures in the teens, so twenty nine degrees and a bit of icy precipitation seemed like a break and everyone, young and old, was looking forward to a little snow. It had been over 20 years since Savannah had an accumulation of snow and many young children had never had the experience of playing in the snow or catching snow flakes on their tongues.

As the big day approached, there were rumors of school and road closings despite the fact that the first rain/snow drop had yet to fall and newscasters wore on everyone's last nerves with their pink line forecast for ice, sleet and snow, that looked more like a cotton candy invasion of the south.

Many people posted a picture of a spilled glass of ice on social media sites and joked about how sand and salt trucks were being brought in to clear the streets of ice and snow with a forecast temperature of 29 degrees inland and 32 on the coast. It all seemed like overkill.

Area schools began posting closings on Monday afternoon with many schools closing all together, despite the fact that freezing rain was not expected until very late evening or early Wednesday morning. The majority of Savannah rolled their eyes and when even the local gyms announced they were closing early Tuesday and all day Wednesday, many people panicked and asked why, wondering how they were going to get a work out with no gym or instructors.

While panic seems the norm for Savannah natives and weather events, many looked forward to a snow day off from work or school and some thought it might be fun to go for a run or walk, but when they awoke to freezing rain that started around 3:30 a.m. and continued through most of the morning, those hopes were dashed as were any kind of organized outdoor sports.

Still, people poked their heads outdoors on a regular basis between checking the local news and social media to see if they could catch a rare 20 second snow drift, which actually turned out to be tiny frozen ice pellets a little bigger than a grain of salt.

Leaves were crunchy on the trees, like delicate Christmas ornaments made of glass and coated in a thin sheet of ice that dripped off the edges in a frozen pearl of luminous water. Bridges remained ice free until noon when temperatures plunged and a hint of sun tried its best to break through the thick gray clouds, but any hopes of outdoor activities were dashed and local authorities advised those who did not have to be on the road to stay home and keep warm.

While many people laughed and made fun of all the caution over a little ice and sleet, the debacle in Atlanta with motorists stranded on the highway and children getting stuck at school and having to spend the night sleeping on the floor with only their jackets for cover made many glad to know that at least we were prepared if something bad were to happen and it was nice to have a day off even if there wasn't much to do other than sit at home and clean house or do jumping jacks in the living room in lieu of hitting the gym.

With the Winter Olympics just around the corner, local residents were hoping to get in some sledding or at least scrape enough show off the car windshield to toss a snowball, but it was not to be and with ice still on the roads at the closing of day, school was cancelled for the second straight day in a row for some and a third for others.

Fear not though, if you are looking forward to a little outdoor fun, the weekend forecast calls for partly cloudy weather with temps in the sixties during the day and there is still one and half months with lots of rain in the forecast, so we still might get that snow yet!

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