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BY MIKE AVITT
There was a freak snowstorm on April 21, 1918 and a photographer captured this scene. Freak storms happen once in a while but the winter of 1936 happened only once.
In mid-January 1936 the Record-News reports 16 inches of snow fell the previous week with strong winds. The railroad tracks between Mount Ayr and Kellerton were plagued with a drift eight feet deep and 1,500 feet long.
The temperature had dropped to 14 degrees below zero.
The next week was more of the same.
Official local weather observer Irene Hood noted 32 inches of snowfall for January, a new record.
Sam Holland froze to death walking to his home two miles south of Redding. Schools and the Mount Ayr Public Library were closed due to the extreme cold or impassable roads.
The first week of February saw six more inches of snow.
The coal shortage was getting serious. Most homes and businesses, including schools and churches, were heated with coal. With the railroad branch lines blocked with snow, delivery of coal was impossible.
A low temperature of 16 below was recorded.
Ringgold County suffered another blizzard February 8, closing the state highways, shutting down businesses, and stopping mail service.
The coal shortage was now critical.
On February 13 a train left Mount Ayr headed south but got stuck two miles north of Delphos. The train sent for help and forty-six men dug the engine out with shovels.
The train made it to Redding but could go no further. The town of Hatfield had been isolated for nearly a month.
On February 24 the temperature rose above zero for the first time in six weeks.
The trains were now running and coal was being delivered, but the Ringgold County High School Basketball Tournament at Diagonal had to be delayed one week because of the coal shortage.
The winter of 1912 was very severe but December 1961 will be a snowstorm many will remember.
A blizzard on December 22 dropped 12 inches of snow on top of ten inches already on the ground.
Roads could not be kept open due to the wind and road-clearing efforts ceased.
Schools dismissed by noon December 21, but not all students made it home and they stayed at farm homes along their route as did one bus driver.
The storm occurred Friday and Saturday so businesses opened on Sunday for the stranded citizens and those who could not return to their homes.
The month started with temperatures as high as 61 but fell to seventeen below zero on December 13 and fourteen below on December 30.
The newspapers compared the 1961 blizzard to that of 1912.
I think the summer of 1934 was the hottest and driest on our record.
The first drought I remember was in 1977. Loch Ayr was so low, one could walk across the north end. I collected some old bottles from the dried mud.