We happily said our goodbyes to the year 2020 while looking forward with great expectations to the year 2021. We endured the restrictions due to COVID-19 and were ready to embrace a new year filled with adventures. But a week of frigid temperatures from an arctic blast of frozen air was not on our list of desirable experiences for 2021.
Yet, here we are. It’s almost Valentine’s Day and the weather forecast says we will have freezing temperatures for five or six days. That’s not something we envisioned when we welcomed the New Year.
I’ve navigated my share of snowy and icy roads as an adult, and I remember some fun snow days while growing up. In January 1949 about 2.6 inches of snow fell in the Humble area. My pictures of siblings and friends with a snowman that was about five feet tall are proof of the snowfall. The ground was covered with a thick coat of white and kids had fun playing in the snow.
The second snowfall happened when I was in high school. On February 12, 1960, about 4.4 inches of snow fell in Harris County. A group of excited high school students played in the snow around the school. We enjoyed snowball fights and tried to build a snowman.
However, the snow and ice that arrived during the Christmas and New Year holidays of 1972-73 created the most vivid memories for me. My husband and I had come to Humble for the holidays. When the massive storm hit Texas after Christmas, it didn’t seem so bad in Humble. But we had to return to our home in Irving.
We left Humble with our two sons, who were two and three years old, in time to arrive home before nighttime, or at least we thought we would be home before dark. However, after we passed Centerville, our car bounced off both sides of a bridge on I-45. We decided that we would not make it home that night. We stopped in Fairfield to put gas in the car and find a place to stay. There were no rooms available and the Dairy Queen was filled with people who were planning to spend the night. We were desperate.
Finally, I called an aunt and uncle who lived in Oakwood and who graciously said that we could spend the night at their home. We carefully drove the few miles to their house and were thankful to be off the icy roads for the night.
The next day we left about ten in the morning with the foolish thought that we would be home in three hours. Again, we drove onto I-45 for the short trip to the Dallas area. Boy, were we in for a few lessons about snow and ice on Texas highways. Almost immediately we saw eighteen-wheeler trucks turned sideways on a bridge of the interstate. We were stopped again and could not get off the highway. We followed the example of other drivers and drove across the ditch to the frontage road. Then we were able to drive back roads to get home. After eight hours on the roads of Texas, we were home; weary, tired and thankful to be in our house.
When the arctic blast was predicted for Houston this week, the weather reporters began to tell about times snow has fallen in the city. I had already learned about the massive storm on February 14th and 15th of 1895 that dropped over 20 inches of snow on Houston. My sister is working on genealogy for our family and discovered that our great grandmother had died in February, 1895. She had shoveled snow around her home in Houston, developed pneumonia and died. Only a massive storm would produce so much snow that it had to be shoveled away from one’s home.
As a young kid and teenager, I enjoyed the few times we had snow. However, as an adult I don’t look forward to large amounts of snow or ice. Therefore, I have stocked up on snacks and food for the next week. My plan is to spend the days of frigid, arctic air at home. My experiences on icy roads are enough to last a lifetime.