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‘Nor‘easter’ snow hammers Mason-Dixon Line

Richard D. L. Fulton


The scene at Toms Creek Bridge was one more reminiscent t of deep winter, then mid fall, during the surprise snowstorm

(10/29) Normally, Frederick and Adams counties are reading about occasional frost advisories during the closing days of October, not significant snow events.

However, during the weekend of October 29, the region was hit by what AccuWeather described as a "significant, rare October snowstorm," which moved across the area traveling out of the southwest, resulting in many prospective Halloween revelers switching from pumpkin carving to snowman making.

The arrival of the "trick or treat" snow storm began around midnight to 11 a.m. Saturday morning, and continued throughout the evening hours and into the early hours Sunday, leaving behind as much as an estimated eight inches or more of slushy, wet snow.

Thousands of storm-related, momentary and lengthy power outages were reported in Adams and Frederick counties during the event.

The snowfall proved to be an early inconvenience for many around the area, while others just decided to sit back and enjoy the Christmas card aura.

Brian D. Glass, Oakridge Farms, Toms Creek Road in Frederick County, stated he was concerned more with the weight of the snow. Oakridge Farm farms about 700 acres of land, and also keeps livestock. "We might have to check the fences pretty good," he stated, indicating that the weight of the snow on tree limbs could cause the heavy branches to fall and crush any fencing beneath them. He was also concerned about snow damage to the farm’s un-harvested soy crop.

Liberty Mountain Resort had a different take on the snow event. Marketing Director Anne Weimer said, "Naturally, we at Liberty Mountain love the snow, and it gets us very excited to see it happen so early. We hope it is a sign of a great winter season ahead of us."

Bill O'Toole, Emmitsburg, stated, that the snow will "not have much impact unless the power goes out. Some have asked me how this jives with the Hagerstown Almanack. I had predicted rain for our area, but snow only in New England."

Emmitsburg area resident Michele Brown said, "My kids are in awe of the sight out the window. They said they have never seen so many beautiful red leaves on the trees and so much snow at the same time. They are absolutely glowing with excitement."

Brian Barth, a Brookfield resident, said, "The kids’ games are canceled, golf is postponed, and our youngest is running around the house yelling and screaming. Meanwhile, our other two children have begun fighting. It is just 8 o’clock in the morning. I looked at my wife and said. ‘It is going to be a long day.’"

Renee A. Lehman, a Gettysburg physical therapist, summed the issue up succinctly, stating, "My thoughts are, ‘Time to make soup!’"

Olivia Sielaff, who along her parents own the Holy Grounds Coffee Shop on the Emmitsburg square, is home from college for Fall break. On the day of the storm Sielaff said, "I thought for sure that I would see my first snowfall of the season up in Steubenville, Ohio where I attend college, but it turns out that mother nature wanted to give me a welcome home present."

However, she stated, "instead of running errands and visiting as many family and friends as possible, I can stay at home, relax with my family, and enjoy little, old Emmitsburg in the snow."

Bill Meredith had a sanguine view of the storm: "I'm too old to go sledding and sensible enough to stay off of the roads when I can, so the snow hasn't affected me directly. The electricity went off for a while, which I imagine was because some trees couldn't bear the weight of the snow and fell on the power lines somewhere; I was painting a bedroom and couldn't see to continue, which was a nuisance at most, and there wasn't anything worth watching on TV. We had sufficient food for a few days if it became necessary, and it wasn't cold enough to freeze water pipes. The thought that crossed my mind was how dependent we have become on infrastructure. Growing up 75 years ago, we had a coal furnace, no indoor plumbing to freeze, and fresh milk and eggs. It ain't like that any more."

Pastor Jon of Elise Lutheran Church tired to keep an open mind. "I give thanks in spite of the cold white stuff coming down in Emmitsburg today. Actually, maybe it is a reminder that we're not in control of matters as much as we'd like to be. Also, that it blankets the mud and in a tragic sort of way, it is pretty laying atop of still blooming flowers, the last of summer's bounty. The mumm's, though shivering are not worried, the inpatients will not fair so well . . . but it's a fitting ending to the tender fushia's pinks and reds -- now covered with white frosty crystals. Perhaps also a final ending that is bittersweet, a memorable burial at Emmitsburg Memorial Cemetery as a gentle man was laid to rest upon that hill with his family and friends supporting one another. The snow fell and it was cold, but they had each other and knowing their loved one was with God."

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