It’s just stopped snowing in Keene. It had been snowing for three hours in a place that rarely sees the stuff, if ever. I don’t think we had any snow last year, a little the year before. But for hours on end, it was a constant driving white, throwing itself in increasingly large and icy chunks at the ground. It hasn’t even frozen yet this year; none of it stuck.
One has to explain, for some readers, that it comes as quite a shock to wake up and see it snowing in Texas. National news organizations are just as surprised – footage from our Dallas stations made its way around the country this morning, newsworthy for its novelty. Well, for the benefit of the rest of the country, there isn’t anything novel about it at all. They used to call them – and some still do call them – Blue Northers, sudden gusts of snow and sleet that cause general misery for travelers and cattlemen. They’re worse in the Panhandle and West Texas, which lie at the end of the great plain that lets wind wander from the sub-arctic of Canada southward from time to time.
Now, of course, not fifteen minutes after it finally stopped, the sun is shining. The last clause in the definition of the Blue Norther is that it leaves as quickly and unpredictably as it came. It’s supposed to be 50 degrees by this afternoon.
This is one of the many reasons some people hate Texas. They come from places that have climates, a slow and steady progression between known norms. Texas has no such thing. And that is one of the many reasons some of us love Texas – Blue Northers and all.