Let It Snow

By Claire Golladay

It’s 6:30 AM on the first Monday after Holiday Break, and my phone flashes with 74 new messages. I reach over and fumble with my pass code, unlocking my phone to reveal a copious amount of “SNOW DAYYYY!!!” texts. My heart pounds in my chest; it’s a miracle–I have an extra day of break to finish all of that homework I should’ve been doing over the holidays instead of clicking “play next episode” on Netflix. I fling the sheets off and race to my window, expecting icicles and snow and at least a frosty window. To my dismay, there’s only browning grass and a light mist coating the annoyingly green leaves of the tree outside in my yard. I blink. I’m in Virginia. Snow is a foreign concept here, the elusive snow day a dream 800 miles away.

It’s been six months since I moved from Grand Rapids, Michigan to Richmond, and I’ve been surprised at the ease of the transition, despite moving from a public school to the Collegiate community and being transplanted into a foreign place where everybody says “y’all” and pop is called “soda”. I’ve come to realize sleepy suburban high school towns are eerily similar to one another; there’s the Friday football games and the dances and the exam crunch and even the typical Mexican restaurant obsession (Although I must confess: we went to Qdoba), and my Michigan life routine was strikingly similar to the Richmond daily life.

EXCEPT THE WEATHER.

ClaireSnow1Day 2 of the storm, when temperatures dropped to -40 degrees with the windchill.

For three consecutive days following Holiday Break, Grand Rapids, Michigan received a downpour, not of Richmond rain, but of authentic Michigan snow. It snowed for 72 hours straight, and when the final snowflake settled on my friends’ yards, three full feet of powder lay ready to be rolled into snowballs.

Despite a daily run-through of anti-ice saltings by snowplows and a valiant effort by the fastidious superintendent to keep schools open, the snow stuck, and East Grand Rapids School District had a legendary triple snow day. I would bear the entire November to May single-digit degree winter to have experienced this history-making event. Just imagine: three full days of cozy dates with Netflix and hot chocolate, or building snow forts, or Elf- inspired snowball fights.

“The District emailed us saying the school was still closed each night at 6:00 pm, so there was no frantic scanning the TV for notice of closure in the mornings. We knew we had another day of snowy freedom,” says Becca Solberg, ‘15.

Clare Schneider, ‘15 comments, “By the end of the snowstorm, we hadn’t been to school in 19 days. Triple snow day or bust.”

According to “City-data.com”, Grand Rapids is ranked 16th on the “Top 101 American Cities With the Highest Average Snowfall”, with 73.4 inches every year. Wind blows across Lake Michigan, bringing huge snowfall with the icy blasts; this “Lake Effect” snow was the cause of the school shutdown and dumping of snow onto my old city last week.

There was so much snow some East Grand Rapids students couldn’t even open their doors. At Brendan Elliot’s house ‘15, “The snow was so deep I couldn’t leave my house.” He claims his door was frozen shut, and since the wind chill was negative 40 degrees by the second day of the storm, “My house was a lot more cozy than outside was; one of my friends went outside after showering and his hair completely froze during his walk from the door to his car.”

ClaireSnow2Outside Brendan Elliot’s house during the storm.

The Michiganders may be snuggled next to their fires during school hours now, but we’ll be the ones laughing when their cars still have frost coating their windshields and snow is on the ground there in May.