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And now, to follow up on last week’s comments about the approaching winter storm and how bad it might be. Well, it was bad. Probably not as bad as some thought it would be, at least not for the Ava area. And certainly, we have seen worse. But the potential was there.
Every school in southern Missouri and northern Arkansas was closed on Thursday, with the announcements being made even before the precipitation began, based on radar and the fact that everyone knew there was almost a 100 percent chance we would get some winter weather. No one knew exactly how much or what form it would come in, but we were going to get hit with a winter storm. Most of the same schools were closed again on Friday.
The storm was huge, affecting virtually every state in the Midwest, and while here in our little part of the world we got by with mostly sleet and freezing rain, some areas not so far away got more than a foot of snow.
Zenda, Kan., reported 18 inches of snow and Wichita saw its second-highest showfall of 14.2 inches, according to the National Weather Service.
In Oregon County, to our southeast, there were reports of more than half an inch of ice on trees and power lines. At the peak, some 20,000 customers of three electric cooperatives in southeast Missouri were without power.
The Ava area dodged the bullet, so to speak, in terms of a major ice storm. We got some freezing rain, but mostly sleet. There was little or no accumulation on trees and power lines, and the sleet was much better for travel than just plain, smooth ice.
The precipitation moved into our area during the early morning hours and by 5 a.m. there was a thin layer of ice on the roads and sidewalks. A round of heavy sleet, with thunder and lightning, moved through the Ava area around 7:15 a.m., and more drizzle, sleet, and rain fell during the morning hours.
Right around the noon hour, another heavy band of sleet came through the area, piling up the heaviest accumulation of ice.
We got a bit of a break over the weekend as temperatures warmed into the 50s on Sunday, but another winter storm moved through our area Monday afternoon and Tuesday, bringing more snow and closing schools once again, and it looks like we are going to stay in the grips of this late February storm all week.
The good news in all this is that we are receiving much-needed moisture that will cause the green grass to smile when the sun finally pops out.
Beware, however. The old-timers (define that as you will) have always said, “For every time it thunders in February, we will have frost in May.” If that proves true this year, we’re going to have several cool nights in May.