Cover the azaleas, let the cat sleep on the bed
Mike Brown

Thursday’s headline in USA Today—or as the late Paul Harvey would have phrased it—“in USA Today today”—screamed “SNOW ON GROUND IN 49 STATES.”

That’s meant to evoke one of those “gee whiz it must really be cold everywhere, huh?” comments, but there’s actually a lot less to this than meets the eye.

As the story itself points out, it doesn’t mean 49 of the 50 states are covered with snow, just that as of sunrise Thursday morning only the state of Florida was completely snow free. While accurate, the headline, and accompanying story, might have been more meaningful had it said “RARE SNOWSTORM IN SOUTHEASTERN U.S.”

Because that’s what actually happened.

You don’t anticipate seeing snow on the ground from Louisiana to Georgia to North Carolina to Arkansas, even in February, but it’s sure been there.

Art by Esmeralda Saucedo, a freshman at Rockdale High School. Art by Esmeralda Saucedo, a freshman at Rockdale High School. As for the rest, and the story included a webcam link showing “snow in Hawaii!,” well, to use a word that was cool in 2011, “meh!”

Ever hear of elevation, as in like real mountains? It snows up there even in places like Hawaii which boasts a pair of 13,000-footers, Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa.

Texas? Uh, y’all ever heard of Dalhart, Spearman, the Panhandle? Yep, it snows there in the winter. Sorry to break it to those yankees whose idea of Texas is the beach at Corpus Christi.

Elevation also accounts for the presence of snow in places like Arizona (12,000-foot-plus San Francisco Peaks) and New Mexico (13,000-foot Sangre de Cristos) although snow is also common on the “Big Rez,” the enthralling and beautiful Navajo Reservation shared by those two states.

And the frequency of snow in our neighboring state of Oklahoma can be measured by the amount of asterisks, and other euphemisms, my Soonerland cousin uses on Facebook each winter as substitutes for words a nice Church of Christ girl just simply isn’t going to say.

A much better example of how exceptionally cold it’s been this winter has been to watch the lows in Central Texas, including Rockdale.

A week ago, with a little over a month of winter to go, Rockdale had already logged 47 lows from the 30s downward and 24 of those were freezing or below.

And that’s something. We can certainly have rare snow and ice storms but typically after any freezing spell the winds will get back in the south, and we’ll have a week or so of great weather.

This winter after a day or so of that, up to this week, it was back to cold north winds and four days of “cover the azaleas, Mable, and let the cat sleep on the bed.”

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