Time to share some cold Christmas memories

By P.J. Gossett
General manager
HAMILTON — This just might be a Christmas to remember. As this is being written, predictions are for a harsh arctic blast to sweep in Thursday night with the lowest temperatures we have seen in years. Some are talking about this being the coldest Christmas since 1989.
That would have been the Christmas my aunt’s Ford Riviera started honking its horn in the middle of the night. I had just turned nine, and it was Christmas Eve night or Christmas morning when the horn to her car began blaring for no reason. She would bundle up, trudge out to the car, barely touch the horn on the steering column, and it would stop. By the time she got unbundled and back in the warm bed, it would start again. After several trips, she finally opened the hood and started yanking wires until it stopped.
The Haleyville weather station recorded the following temperatures for Christmas 1989: Dec. 22: the high was 32 degrees, with a low of -4 degrees; Dec. 23: the high was 8 degrees, with a low of -7 degrees; Dec. 24: the high was 14 degrees, with a low of -5 degrees; Dec. 25: the high was 23 degrees with a low of 3 degrees.
Another cold Christmas memory was the ice storm of 1998. Like today, we had plenty of time to prepare, thanks to the weather service sending out updates days prior. Rain turned to sleet quickly on the evening of Dec. 23, 1998. By 10 p.m., the area was shut down with thick ice on power lines and multiple trees down. Our power was off for a week, thanks to the downed power lines along with a tree limb falling across the power line at our house, yanking the meter box off of the outside wall.
That was an eerily quiet Christmas. Instead of listening for Santa on the roof, we were listening to trees cracking and crashing. That was the only sound we could hear, as there was no traffic obviously. The tree damage is still visible in the yard.
By the time this is published, the ordeal will be over, but I wanted to share some of my cold Christmas memories. I just hope I don’t have more to add to them.


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