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Late season snow delights youngsters, slows travel

The dark purple of a pansy against the snow.

What a difference a day makes! On Tuesday the region basked in 80 degrees of summer-like warmth and sunshine. Barbecue grills were dragged out and fired up, just as area residents hustled to find “cool” clothing to don for this brief taste of seasons yet to come.

Adhering to the adages of the weatherwise, if you don’t like the weather, wait a minute.

So it is that northern Middle Tennessee saw temperature drop by 50 degrees, viewed a sky of thickening  clouds, and watched in awe as winter took what may be its last punch of the 2008-09 season.

Snow. Sleet. Freezing rain. Salt brine and sanding trucks, even a snow plow on Fort Campbell Boulevard.  The snow line moved south over the course of the day, arriving in lower Clarksville in mid-afternoon, some time after north Clarksville was already eyeing light accumulation.

In New England, this kind of snowfall is “sugar snow,” a late season wet snowfall that comes even as the springtime rush of sap is surging through the sugar maples, sap that is gathered in buckets, pouring into wood-fired arches to boil — 40 gallons of sap makes a gallon of syrup in a 24/7 marathon that only works in late winter on the cusp of spring, when days are warm and nights are cold. Light golden Grade A syrup is considered the finest, with the dark amber B (or less) syrup as the “end of season fare (I actually like the darker richer taste of the Grade B). Today’s snow was a light coating of “sugar snow.”

I miss New England, and this snowfall was a gift of sorts. Being out in it was, for me, a treat.

Snow-covered bridge at Billy Dunlop Park

The National Weather Service gave the region ample notice. Though it was a bit later getting her, once it started, the winter storm  revved up quickly, piling over an inch of snow (of the wet snowman-making kind) across downtown, somewhat more  toward the Kentucky border.

A spider web on the bridge at Billy Dunlop Park

Having already transitioned my closet from winter-ready to summer-anticipation, I rummaged hastily  for something “warmer” to wear, something to layer as I prepared for a photographic circuit of Clarksville.

Even as the storm was shifting between snow, sleet and freezing rain, and winding down from the west, Clarksville Online captured images of a wonderland that will be gone with tomorrow’s predicted 45 degree high.

On the cusp between winter and tornado season,


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