The Great Snowfall of 1973
The day was Friday, February 9, 1973 - thirty seven years ago. It was supposed to rain - a cold rain. After all, it had rained the Friday before - an all time official record of five and one - half inches. Eight East Laurens High School classrooms had been soaked. The weatherman said "lows in the mid thirties and highs approaching fifty." He was wrong. Boy, was he wrong!
The day started out like any other February Friday. It was a little chilly, but not too cold. My father told us that it was going to snow that day. We responded "Daddy, you're crazy! It's not cold enough." You see, it was his naval flight training that told him so - cold fronts, wet air masses, and stuff like that.
Around noon it began to rain. In some places sleet was enfilading the trees. Claps of thunder boomed throughout the county. Then, in a moment of day dreaming, I glanced out of the narrow window of Mrs. Frances Powell's English classroom. There were flakes in that rain - one then another. Soon the rain vanished. Large snow flakes began pommeling the rapidly freezing ground.
Macon and Augusta had seven inches. Columbus topped out at nine inches.
Ironically, the Dublin Police Department had just undergone training for an event like this. They were ready for some snow, but never had they planned for this much. Marguerite Faulk, director of the Laurens County Civil Defense Department, set the wheels in motion to protect County citizens. The Sheriff's office helped too. Law enforcement officers began ferrying needed medical personnel to hospitals. The weekend training for the Army Reserve was canceled. However, the National Guard stepped in to help out.
Everything shut down. Most streets were impassable. Interstate Highway 16 was closed. Only during the "Great Flood of 1994" has that highway been closed. Alderman Bob Walker and City Manager John Crane oversaw the scraping of downtown streets and sidewalks. Snowbanks were several feet high along West Jackson Street. Yankee transplants with snow chains and four-wheel drive truck owners could get around with a little difficulty. Everyone else was stuck.
However, everything wasn't fun and games. Several of Louis and D.I. Parker's cows were trapped in a barn. Its roof collapsed under the weight of the snow. Some power and utility lines were down, but Southern Bell, Georgia Power, and E.M.C. crews repaired them in short order. Thankfully, there were only a few auto accidents.
We had snowfalls before. The "Great Snow of February, 1914" was remembered by the old timers as the biggest snow storm of all. It was only four inches. Nearly two more decades passed before a good amount of snow fell again. A legendary snow fall occurred in the early hours of Thanksgiving in 1912. Nearly three inches of snow fell, but quickly melted during a mid morning rain. Another more legendary snow occurred in July of 1902. Dr. George Franklin Green and other reliable witnesses reported that they saw a few snow flakes following a hail storm.