Snow has no place in October. Get out of here. You're not wanted. Go bother Canada.
When the first flakes fell a few days ago, some of us thought of the Halloween Blizzard of 1991, now passed into legend. Are you are newcomer to the Twin Cities? Meaning, you've been here only 20 years or so?
Sit right down, you whippersnappers, you sprats, you whelps and younglings. Bet you never heard about this one.
The legendary blizzard started at 7 a.m. Big flakes, the size of cotton balls. The airport reported visibility at minus 6 inches, which meant that when you tried to look at something, you just saw the inside of your head.
By 8 a.m. the snow had let up a bit, and the flakes were the size of popcorn. It piled up pretty quickly, and boy, the commute was heck! Six-car pileups everywhere, and that was just in people's garages. By noon, 8 feet had fallen. It was a wet snow, so all the stuff that fell in the Mississippi melted right away and flooded downtown St. Paul. Everyone had to scramble for high ground by the Capitol and the Cathedral, and they wouldn't be airlifted out for a day or two. But that was over in St. Paul, like I said, so we didn't get news about that in Minneapolis until they got the mush-dog teams up to carry the news.
Around 1, maybe 2 in the afternoon, the Weather Service changed the descriptions of the snowfall from feet to yards. First time they ever did that. They said the storm models predicted 11 yards. They were purty gals, those Storm Models; they came on the TV with big cards that predicted the snowfall, paradin' around in high-heeled mukluks.
Everyone gets out of work at 5, wondering if the plows had done their work. They had, but they'd put down sand when the early snow was wet, and you know what you get with sand and water? That's right, concrete. Folks got stuck on 35W because the concrete was setting as they were trying to move, and, of course, that's when the temps really dropped. I think about 1,400 people froze to death between downtown and 42nd Street. Didn't get an accurate number until spring on that one.
It kept fallin'! Well, as you can imagine, folks were thinking they're going to have to get the trick-or-treating in early, because another 6 yards were comin' down between 8 and 9. So the kids went out early, with dads running a snowblower ahead and all the kids tied together with rope.
Just about the time all the kids were out getting their candy, the hail started, but that hail had passed through all the jet fuel the planes were dumping as they came screaming in. Lightning hit the hail and ignited it, so you had flaming hail raining down, and you know what? Inside that hail were some tiny frogs that got scooped up from a pond when a twister hit Roseville early in the day. So you basically had all your plagues at once. Dangdest thing you ever saw.
So forgive me if I chuckle at late-October storms. I've seen what the skies can do around these parts if they've got the mind to wreak a little mischief.
"We'll talk about this for years to come," I remember saying that Halloween. "Whether they want to hear about it again, or not."