The unfathomable has happened.
We The People of Alabama have gotten two measurable snowfalls in the same winter.
I’ve always said that I want to experience one True Northern Snowstorm, but I also believe that every one of you northerners should absolutely experience one True Southern Snowstorm.
Because Southerners react to snow with a fantastic mixture of awe and hilarity.
I already told you how it goes down if we don’t know it’s coming. But when we do know it’s coming, it’s a completely different event.
Here are the steps to a True Southern Snowstorm.
1. 72 Hours Beforehand: It looks as if there might be snow!!!! Perhaps even two snow events back to back!!!!!!! All news anchors and meteorologists bring their sleeping bags to the studio, and the Governor goes ahead and declares a State of Emergency while it’s still warm out – just in case he’s unable to get to his Easy Button when we need him.
2. Forget school for the rest of the week, as well as medical care (except emergencies), eating out (except Waffle House), and any Church or social functions. We didn’t get snow until Wednesday night, but I didn’t leave the house from Sunday to Thursday – because there was nothing to do.
3. Wait expectantly for 48 hours, kids home from school and playing outside in the mild but snowless weather.
Finally, snow starts falling, resulting in wall-to-wall news coverage, weather radios blaring out warnings, families quickly bundling into their waiting snow gear, and general ecstatic hysteria.
4. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter feeds immediately multiply to hundredfold of their normal rate, vomiting photos of measuring tapes and rulers in the snow (some up to the four inch mark!!), deck furniture coated in white, trees covered in snow, and children with looks of ecstasy that could only be justified by Publisher’s Clearinghouse showing up at their door.
Okay, parents too.
5. News anchors fill up their continuous coverage (sometimes even forgoing commercial breaks due to the urgent nature of their information) excitedly switching between camera views of cities throughout the state and viewer photos of snowmen, snow angels, and bikini-clad women and shirtless men* laying in the snow.
(*Bikini-Clad Women and Shirtless Men are always in separate photographs, obviously. This is The South, after all.)
6. As the snow keeps falling, the news anchors begin using statements such as,
“Look at the football field in Slap Out, Alabama! It must have an inch of snow covering it by now. That looks more like Lambeau Field in Green Bay than a High School in Alabama!”
“Can you believe these pictures? I’d think they were taken in Antarctica if I didn’t know better!”
“I think we can expect a penguin to waddle through this LiveCam shot any minute.”
“The Mayor has announced that he will put in a bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics!”
4. If it happens to snow at night, you either let your children stay up late or wake them up in the middle of the night to play in it, taking photos of adorable midnight snowmen.
7. After finally making the kids go to bed, parents stay up way too late, romantically gazing at the magical white ground covering.
And then they wake up super early and drag the kids out to play in the snow before it melts.
8. Southern Snow Play includes a frenzy of activity of every type of snow activity we’ve ever seen on television. In less than one hour, we can make a snowman, have a snowball fight, sled, make snow angels, have snow cream, walk around the neighborhood, take dazzling photos of the white magic, and in general feel like our life goals have been met.
Did I mention what expert sledders we are in the south?
Yes, that sled is being pulled by an extension cord. Isn’t that normal?
9. Before lunchtime, it goes back to fifty degrees and our snow melts away, leaving barely a trace of evidence of that which shut down our entire state for nearly a week.
10. Within 48 hours, we’re back at seventy degrees.
And all we have left are the memories. And the fifteen hundred photos. And the piles of laundry. And, if we had the forethought to build in the shade, a mostly melted, dirty, sad remnant of a snowman.
But we will never forget.