- Definition: A Thunderstorm with a brief heavy snow instead of rain.
- Example: “Thundersnow, also known as a winter thunderstorm or a thunder snowstorm, is very rare.”
Rare they may be, but last night was my third thundersnow in the past three years! What made last night’s thundersnow so amazing was the accumulation of snowfall that came with it in what we Wichitan’s have started affectionately referring to The Blizzard Of Oz!
Yesterday I paid little heed to the snow falling from the sky as Wichita rarely gets snow that sticks for more than a day. When we do get snow it is often accompanied by ice, sleet, or freezing rain. As well, my North Eastern background has numbed me to driving in the snow. However, when I left the office last night I was impressed to see that the snow had in fact accumulated, the roads were a bit dicey, and Wichita did look like a winter wonderland. However, when the news said this was the smaller of the two snowfalls we would see over the course of the day I was skeptical since weather predictions here are as reliable as a jalopy on race day. Max, my two-year-old, built snowmen in the back yard with my wife Kate all day; school had been canceled. They would build them as high as possible then Max would knock it over. When I got home this was the conversation that greeted me at the back door:
MAX: ”Hi Dada!”
ME: ”Hi Max, did you have a fun snow day?”
ME: ”What did you do?”
MAX: ”I built snowmen!”
ME: ”Really? That’s awesome! Where are they?”
MAX: ”They fell down.”
ME: ”Oh no, I’m sorry buddy.”
MAX: ”Its okay, I pushed the snowmen down.”
ME: ”Why’d you do that?”
MAX: ”It happens.”
Then Max toddled off to play basketball and torture the cat. ”It happens?!!!” What an awesome response! Turns out it is one of two of his favorite words, the other being “yeah,” which he says in a down trodden from the hip kind of tone…like he’s already a teenager or something. ”Hey Max, do you love Dada?” (Without looking up from his toy), “Yeah.” Max goes to bed, Kate and I call it a night early, and there is no snow falling when I turn off the porch light. Then…its the middle of the night and the cat is howling, Max is crying, Kate and I are confused, and then SMACK! Thunderclap! Kate goes to check on Max and I peek out the window…yup…snowing…hard! I shoved the cat under the covers and went to help with Max when everything lit up in the house. Lightning! My brain half registered what was happening…snow and lightning? SMACK! Thunderclap! A quick change of the diaper and some calming words from Dada and everyone went back to bed.
This morning I was surprised to see how much snow had accumulated. The high winds from the storm had also created some thigh-high snow drifts and we were locked in from the snow piled up against the doors. I pushed the back door open and waded over to the garage and started the arduous process of digging ourselves out. At first I was just going to shovel the walkways but then I remembered how Kate is pregnant and due any second. What if she needed to leave in an emergency while I was at the office? What if Molly our doula needed to come over? So I shoveled the whole driveway. Then, catching my breath, I noticed our neighbor’s walkway, driveway, and car were buried. They just had a baby who was going to come home any day and I couldn’t leave without doing something, so I shoveled off their front steps, walkway, and carved a walking path down their driveway to the street. I also dug out their car, swept it, and pulled the wipers off the glass – the wipers off the glass is very important in Kansas because all this will melt slightly then freeze and you can kiss your wipers goodbye!
We made a game time decision to not open the restaurant, I snagged some grub at home, and made the trek into the office as the snow continued to lightly fall. I’ve got plenty of work to do but I can’t stop thinking about all the fun Kate and Max must be having at home! Making snow angels, building snowmen, knocking them down…it happens. Yeah. Thundersnow!!!