Snow Day Criteria

How many inches of promised snow constitutes a reason for a “Snow Day” in South Mississippi? The final weather report before bedtime on December 7 forecast somewhere between half an inch and an inch and a half with a bit of incredulity about any snow at all. Across the bottom of the TV screen scrolled the endless listing of school closings. It would have been easier to name any that were staying open.

Now before my faraway friends (who live in places where they walk uphill both ways in twelve inches of the white stuff to get an education) begin to laugh, let me say there are reasons for half-inch closings. Just think of some questions Mississippians might ask:

  • Snow plow? What’s a snow plow?
  • I have milk and bread. Was I supposed to do something else?
  • What do you mean the highway people didn’t salt the road because the rain we got earlier would have washed it away?
  • You’re telling me I shouldn’t hit the brake when the car starts to skid? What would you have me to do?

I think you get my drift, but we do actually know how to behave when it snows in south Mississippi:

  • Call off school and any nonessential jobs.
  • Light the fire.
  • Build a snowman and make a few snow angels.
  • Turn the pool toys into sleds and go downhill.
  • Have a snowball fight.
  • Stir up some cocoa and throw a few marshmallows on top.
  • Take a bunch of pictures and videos and post every single one of them on Facebook!

The time for the snow to end changed with each weather forecast the next day – 9 AM, 10 AM, noon, mid-afternoon – and down it came until late afternoon. As it happened, the accumulation was reported between four and six inches with Al measuring 6 ½ inches in our front yard. The newspaper said “more than 5 ½ inches” and a new record over the 5-inch one from 1895. Another peculiarity of snow in Mississippi, the exact length of time for snowfall and depth of pileup is difficult, maybe impossible, to predict. The first picture is early morning, the last picture is after a day of snowfall leaves Scrooge with cold feet in more ways than one.  

So if our friends from farther north are laughing at our expense for closing school in anticipation of half an inch of snow, we Mississippians are always glad to bring a smile. We’re wearing one ourselves while we drink our cocoa in front of the fire and watch the flakes sifting softly from the sky.