For those too embroiled in the college bowl season to notice, it snowed Monday night in Cleveland.
True, it paled noticeably when compared to the magic of that Christmas Day charmer that fell in 2010, and later in January 2011, and February, and beyond. By the end of that fatiguing winter season, Cleveland and Bradley County had been served up more than 20 inches of wannabe snow cream.
Monday evening’s precipitation blew in — compliments of 25 mph wind gusts — sometime around 10 p.m.
Like a shower of frozen mist, the tiny, dry flakes came down in wind-whipped waves, but provided no more than a dusting atop vehicles and perhaps a few driveways and sidewalks. The night’s 20-degree temperatures created some icing which was quickly thwarted by quick-acting road crews. We thank all for their diligence on such a cold, cold night in a chilled Southeast Tennessee.
The snowfall’s duration was brief yet pleasurable to those who stood at their open doors, gazing into the night air and cheering at the sight of the winter’s first embrace of our frostbitten hometown. It was surely the season’s coldest eve to date — at least, until the following night — and it brought with it memories from the most recent winter whose tenacity left our residents spellbound with wonder.
It is little surprise that our newspaper’s staff writers and editors ranked last season’s winter weather as the fourth-biggest story of the year for Cleveland and Bradley County in 2011. It followed the hands-down selections of the April 27 tornadoes, our community’s subsequent recovery in the storms’ aftermath and the historic groundbreaking of the Wacker Polysilicon North America plant near Charleston.
We are a community well-versed in mid-winter cold, but not especially trained in accommodating deep blankets of snow — especially with the depths and frequency received last season.
The historic blizzard of March 1993, whose two-day intensity gifted us with about 21 inches of challenge, proved we are not adept at the ways of the Eskimo. But then, such significant amounts of snowfall are thankfully rare to our region.
Whether it was a dusting, a 1-inch teaser or a layering comparable to that which graced our landscape on Christmas Day 2010, Monday night’s welcoming to another winter was warmly received and well worth the few minutes spent admiring its midnight beauty — even if it meant missing a few minutes of Heisman Trophy candidate Andrew Luck and a collection of stellar athletes from Stanford and Oklahoma State universities.
Not all would agree.
In some Bradley County vocabularies, “snow” is regarded merely as that “S word” of winter. In their right, these hometown neighbors see it only as bringing impassable roads, high heating bills and broken power lines.
To others, the frozen blanket of white is a calming retreat, a reason to walk in the titillating air and an inviting escape from all that is ordinary.
Regardless of one’s convictions, snow is like any component of weather.
When it happens, it happens.
And for those who spent too long at their front doors admiring this quiet interlude on a cold winter’s eve, Oklahoma State won the game, 41-38.