How to Prepare for a Memphis Snow Day

Snow Memphis
Lance Wiedower

Snow days -- or ice days -- are a rite of passage of sorts for Memphians. Every child dreams of being out of school to play in the snow. The reality is most of those snow days are because of ice, if the threat of snow events even comes to fruition. Here are some ways to enjoy your Memphis snow day.

Learn about a snow dome, or why the snow always miraculously falls everywhere around the Mid-South – except Shelby County. Contrary to common belief, the snow doesn’t fall across Arkansas only to get to a mysterious wall at the Mississippi River or at the bluffs. But we need a reason we never get snow. A Mississippi River wall seems as good as any.

Race to Kroger to clear the shelves of all the bread and milk just in case you find yourself stuck at home for a week. You just never know when you might be craving a milk sandwich.

Do get out on the roads and drive in the slush with a mix of drivers scared to death and creeping along at 10 mph and the drivers who once lived “up north” for a time and feel that gives them the right to drive 80 in a 55. That is sarcasm. Seriously, driving on Memphis roads in winter weather is miserable.

Take lots of snowman selfies to send in to the local TV stations. Once the disaster has been averted, the TV stations love to post all of your pictures of cute kids playing in a grassy snow mix while trying their best to build what resembles a snow man.

Speaking of snowmen, if you are able to build one out of half an inch of sleet/snow mixture you definitely have earned your Memphian card. If you grew up outside Memphis, maybe even all the way up in Tipton County, you actually had a childhood with snow. But if you grew up in Memphis, well, ice ruled the day.

Claim your favorite weather outlet. There are TV stations, websites, social media meteorologists and your dad.

Get confused over the difference between freezing rain and sleet, because there really isn’t much of a reason to be concerned with what snow is. To review: freezing rain is rain that falls in liquid form and then freezes to whatever surface it touches. Sleet is falling ice that fell through a warm spot in the atmosphere where it melted before hitting cold air that froze it before hitting the ground. Snow was precipitation that fell through below-freezing temps the whole way.

And that leads to the ice storm. If you didn’t live in the Mid-South during the ice storm of ’94 you will hear about it every time you turn on the TV weather during an approaching winter storm. That ice storm was the worst-case scenario of lots of freezing rain that brought down power lines all over the Memphis area. It’s the measuring stick all winter events are measured against. Don’t roll your eyes until you’ve experienced a power outage for a week or two at a time.