Tales from the Morgue: Snow in the desert and a bit of treason

2014-02-05T09:00:00Z 2014-02-11T14:35:57Z Tales from the Morgue: Snow in the desert and a bit of treasonJohanna Eubank Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
February 05, 2014 9:00 am  • 

We have heard so much about snow over much of the country that we might yearn for some ourselves. However, the freezing temperatures that accompany that snow, we'd just rather do without.

Roughly a year ago, we had a good dusting of snow. It didn't hang around long, but we got some good pictures before the snow melted.

Snow in February in Tucson is not unheard of, as we see in this article. It is rare enough to commandeer a decent amount of newsprint.

The news of treason is told with a chuckle at the end.

From the Arizona Daily Star, Thursday Feb. 2, 1939:

SNOW BLANKET COVERS DESERT
_____

Almost While State Has Wet Covering and Cold Wave
_____

Snow blanketed the desert around Tucson last night as winter's fingers took a firm grip on southern Arizona and most of the rest of the state.

Tucsonans, for one of the few times in memory, were able to build snowmen and throw snowballs. Snow fell all afternoon, and by dusk was an inch deep in sheltered spots.

Outside the city, the floor of the Santa Cruz valley was solidly white last night, and cacti and desert shrubs were bent under the covering. Mountains throughout southern Arizona were covered in places a foot deep.

The snowfall, which ended with flurries of rain, melted on pavements, and a dropping thermometer threatened icy streets by morning. The mercury, which reached a high of 46 during the afternoon, was at 32 and falling at 10 p.m.

Snowball Fights

The snowfall led to the usual snowball fights among students on the University of Arizona campus, and had the added effect of sending Hamilton Keddie, secretary of the Sunshine Climate club, into seclusion for the afternoon. Winter visitors to the sunshine city telephoned Keddie one after the other to heckle him about the weather. Similar calls were received by the chamber of commerce.

Snow last fell here January 7, 1937.

Phoenix also reported a light snowfall.

The storm, one of several over the west, covered most of Arizona. It was not heavy enough to slow train or bus travel, but the westbound American Airlines plane last night was grounded at El Paso. An eastbound plane went through on schedule.

Snow in Passes

The Southern Pacific reported three and a half inches of snow along its line over the Dragoon mountains, and a motorist who came from Safford said it was snowing all the way. Both slopes of the Santa Catalina mountains were covered, and the highway from Oracle Junction to within a few miles of Tucson was two or three inches under the snow.

The Tucson, Rincon, Santa Rita and other mountains visible from Tucson also were covered with a blanket of white.

Mountains around Florence were reported covered, although only a few flurries fell within the town. It was raining there last night.

Douglas Covered

The Associated Press reported from Douglas that a blinding snow storm set in at 7 p. m. Bisbee reported continued snow during the day in the Chiricahua mountains and far to the east.

In northern Arizona, more than a foot of snow lay on the ground at 8:30 p. m. Other snow depths ranged from one to two inches at Flagstaff to eight inches at Jacob Lake, near the Utah boundary.

A telegram to the Salt River Valley Water Users' association from Springerville said there were three and a half feet of snow in that district and at Sheep Springs, with the fall continuing. Sheep Springs, at an elevation of 9,000 feet, is the center of one of the best runoff areas for the Salt river tributaries.

A steady snow fell in Miami all day, the Associated Press report continued, but melted as fast as it touched the ground. Reports from nearby hilly areas said the fall was quite heavy.

In the northern part of the state it started snowing again at McNary where three inches were recorded Tuesday night to bring the total for the White mountain area to 17 inches, eight of which fell since Sunday. The McNary-Springerville road was under two feet of snow with a high wind drifting it badly.

District engineers and maintenance foremen throughout the north telegraphed the following reports to the state highway department:

Snow at Congress Junction and from Wickenburg to Wilhoit. Road open but slick.

Chains Needed

Roads in vicinity of Prescott slippery and dangerous. Motorists advised to use chains. Two inches of snow in Prescott. The temperatures dropped to 10 degrees above zero Tuesday night to register coldest night since last November.

Three inches of snow fell at Grand Canyon and one inch at Williams. Weather cloudy, roads passable.

One to two inches of snow at Flagstaff with storm continuing, but "everything O. K."

Snow over the entire Holbrook-Lupton highway. Icy surface from the state line eight miles west.

Snow at Taylor but traffic going through to McNary and Fort Apache.

Four inches at Winslow. Traffic moving slow.

Eight inches of snow at Jacob Lake but road reported "fine."

A heavy snow continues over highway 60, makes travel dangerous in spots; chains required for all cars.

The news that caused a chuckle came about perhaps because Floridians wanted to gloat a little. Lets face it, Tucsonans have been known to brag about the usually sunny weather here.

From the Star of the same date:

Somebody Is Going To Face Charge Of Treason to Tucson
_____

There was treason afoot yesterday!

A man called up The Arizona Daily Star, inquiring as to how to set his camera to get a good snow-storm picture. Asked what kind of a camera he had, and learning it was a "Brownie" the man was advised to get a professional photographer—in fact we offered the services of our own J. Robert Burns.

After this advice had been gratefully accepted, it all came out of the bag!

The Miami (undoubtedly Florida) chamber of commerce had phoned our man, requesting a good Tucson snow storm picture immediately.

Just wait until Florida has another hurricane.

The Miami chamber might have had better luck phoning the newspaper in the first place. That wouldn't mean, however, that the Star photographers and editors wouldn't share a little snicker when the next hurricane hits Miami.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

About this blog

"Tales from the Morgue" is a way for the Star to share stories from the treasure trove of information held in its old files.

Johanna Eubank, aka the Morgue Lady, was a research assistant in the Star Library — also known as News and Research Services — for 18 years before becoming an online content producer. She has had her share of sneezing fits after digging into dusty old files, so she's sure to find a few old stories to re-examine.

If you have suggestions, comments or questions about this blog, e-mail jeubank@tucson.com

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