March 24th, 1970 - Snonado
Gary from the station said he wishes he remembers his first Snonado. They’re real rare around these parts. He said the pictures weren’t great back then and all the pictures he has are all shaky and hard to tell who’s what because the snow is all white and the sky is mostly white too. He said he wishes he would have written down more details in a notebook or something so he could remember them and I thought that was a good idea so here I am writing about my first rundown with a Snonado.
Well now, that’s not actually true. Back in the tenth grade ‘round Christmastime me and Johnny jumped in his dad’s ‘64 Pontiac GTO when Big Frosty hit the old part of Berryton. Big Frosty was the first Snonado I ever laid my eyes on. He whipped up out of nowhere and dumped a whole hill of puffy snow dust on Miss Mary’s animal hospital. The pups had a heyday tunneling through the snow. They never found Cinnamon though, old man Richardson’s chihuahua.
We followed Big Frosty until the road ended and Johnny didn’t want to take his dad’s pride and joy through the deep snow since we weren’t supposed to be driving it anyway. So we turned around and I watched Big Frosty in the rearview mirror as he moved through the cornfields and into the woods and that’s when I decided I wanted to learn more about these snowy phenomenons.
And that lead me to getting my weather science degree and then to chasing this new snonado down route forty-seven at six twenty-two in the morning all these years later. I couldn’t get a good look at her size but I knew I needed to get right up close for the seven o'clock news because all the kids in their footy pajamas and all the moms and dads drinking their coffees would be tuning in to see where this new storm was heading after the snow horns went off at six.
So there I was driving parallel to this humongous mess of wind and snow moving east, lookin’ like she was going to go north of town toward the sea, and that’s when she told me her name.
She was bigger than I remembered Big Frosty being, by three times at least. As she rotated in a white weather cyclone she spit the fluffiest powdery snow on everything within a half mile radius; including my Channel 4 truck. My wipers were going mad trying to keep up with the downfall. All of the fields and roads had a light dusting that looked like they could be wiped clean with a feather duster.
It was now six forty-eight and the city was getting closer and I could see the big light on in the clock tower downtown so I sped up to get ahead of Lady Snowdown so I could get my camera set up and report on her proper. Hope my mother doesn’t ever read this, she already thinks my drivin’s so bad she won’t even ride with me up to the diner. She says if I’m not careful I’ll end up like that Knievel hotshot who “done crushed his pelvis” in Vegas. Hope she doesn’t find out I was pushin’ seventy coming into town this morning.
I made it good and fine though. Didn’t even slip or slide one time.
So I got up on top of the hill in the middle of the square and pointed my camera straight at her and boy did she look beautiful. Zooming in with the camera the rhythm of the beams of snow flowed in a circle like a river coming together and flowing apart at high speeds. The flakes fit together in perfect chaos swirling up, up and then out over Berryton.
While I was taking in Lady Snowdown in all her frozen glory, I realized something that sent a chill down my spine. She was gettin’ bigger. Much bigger. She had changed course and was heading straight toward the town square.
I knew her powder snow wouldn’t do no damage to all the shops and cars around the square, it’d just be like some sugar fairy came and dumped a foot of powdered sugar all over and then laughed their way out of town. I was thinking city hall would be closed for the day while all the government folks got their shovels and made tunnels to get around in.
There I was, camera set up, microphone with that blue fuzzy top...wait a second. No, it was red this morning. I think they got mine switched out because the battery was going bad or something or other, I can’t remember. Anyway, I was standing there waiting for Kendra to send it over to me and I could see that snowy cyclone getting bigger and bigger and bigger.
I musta’ looked somethin’ funny, standing there staring off in the distance at the crack of dawn. Took Kendra sayin’ my name a few times to get my attention. She asked me about the snow horns and if there really was a snonado around Berryton this morning. I laughed a little and told her that Lady Snowdown is real, and she just changed directions and is heading right toward town square and Kendra said it looks like you’re in town square and I said yes ma’am and laughed again but this time it was more nervous than funny.
I told her and everyone at home that there was no use worrying about Lady Snowdown, she doesn’t mean no harm, and that she just has a little present for us in the form of the most powdery snow you can imagine. And as I was standing there I felt the air drop a few degrees ‘cause my nose got real cold and I looked up from the camera and Lady Snowdown was right on me now. She was real quiet about it because the wind wasn’t too strong since the snow is so light it blows all around with a light breeze so there I was standing there on live television as Lady Snowdown passes by and I figure the screen went white for a good twenty seconds as she passed by and I just stood there and laughed as the dusty snowflakes tickled my nose and whipped around my exposed ears.
She passed through the square, looking a little thinner as she began to shed all that made her. I got myself and the camera all brushed off then wiped a little frozen teardrop off my cheek as I watched her fade into flurry, glad that my job let me experience these kind of moments and forgetting I was still on live television.
And now everyone around the station calls me Teary instead a Terry so I don’t think I’m ever going to shake that one.
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