We didn’t get any snow over the weekend, like they said we might. Even if we had, it wouldn’t have stuck around very long; snow rarely does in these parts.
Paris, Lamar County, shoot, just about all of Northeast Texas, just isn’t known for getting a lot of snow. I believe it is one of the most attractive features of the area, one of the reasons I have never been tempted to live anywhere else.
I was born in colder climes and spent the first few years of my life primarily in Northeast Indiana, in a place called Miller Township. Located on the extreme southern tip of Lake Michigan, it gets a lot of what is called lake effect snow each and every winter. Blisteringly cold north winds rush over more than a thousand miles of deep water, picking up moisture as it goes, until it hits land just about right where I used to live, and all that cold, wet air condenses and pumps out tons of heavy, wet snow. As long as the wind holds, it just keep snowing, dumping foot after foot of the stuff.
Cars can get buried, houses and other structures accumulate drifts of snow that can reach above the roof lines, and sidewalks and streets disappear as if they never existed. But life goes on, people have to get out, there are jobs to do, errands to run, classes to attend. In a town that sees more snow than not each winter, there is no such thing as a snow day.
I had to come to Texas to find out people had snow days, when offices, stores and schools close their doors because a bit of snow fell from the sky. I was amazed.
In Paris and Lamar County, research shows that Jan. 7 is the coldest day of the year, with average low temperatures of 34 degrees and highs of 54.
We have had much colder temperatures, according to our records here at The Paris News.
In January, our records show, we have reached temperatures as low as minus 5 degrees. This was on a pair of consecutive days in the middle of the month in 1930. That must have been a booger of a cold front; there are no other listings in the negative ranges listed in January of any year. The next coldest day reported was a pair of 0 readings, one on Jan. 13, 1912, and the other on Jan. 31, 1949.
Over the years, I have noted that 1911 and 1912 were cold years on the whole in these parts. On the internet, I have found historical records of severe cold weather across the country beginning in November 1911 and lasting until January 1912. Much cooler temperatures lasted until well into the spring of 1912 across the U.S. The summers of 1911 and 1912 were also noted for extreme sustained high temperatures.
All of the record low temperatures for January we keep here at the paper show an almost complete sweep of single digit temperatures ranging from 0 to 9 degrees. There are a few instances of record lows on consecutive days but they never last more than two days: for example, Jan. 2 and 3, 1979; Jan. 4 and 5, 1911; Jan. 6 and 7, 1942.
We had a quite a few cold records set in the 1960s, fewer in the 1970 and 1980s. That makes sense to me, what with the steady global warming I’ve been reading about for the past few decades.
Anyone who has lived in this area for any length of time at all knows that snow is the least of our winter weather problems. We did have an amazing February snow in 2010 that left Paris covered in 9 inches of snow and made just about everyone with any sort of camera into an amateur landscape photographer, but it didn’t last long; and there was a white Christmas in 2012 that thrilled us all for the few hours it took to melt off.
Ice storms are the real bugaboo in the winter in our hometown, the thing we all dread.
We’ve had a number of pretty serious ice storm events here in Paris. Most people agree the Christmas Day ice storm of 2000 was one for the books. Damage from that storm was estimated to be in excess of $18 million across the region, and quite a few people in outlying communities to the east and southeast of Lamar County were left with no power for weeks afterwards as power company workers worked ceaselessly to get electric lines restored.
It was pretty, though, if you discounted how much some people had to struggle with the aftereffects.