-By Rich Miller
For the past year, the South has been in a severe drought. The water levels in Lake Hartwell have been as low as 22 feet below full pool. When the lake was this low there wasn’t but one or two boat ramps that were able to launch boats. This affected the fishermen because there were a lot of standing trees and other obstacles in the lake that was not marked. For safety reasons and in fear of tearing up their boat, most anglers didn’t go to the lake. This in turn affected the local economy in a negative way. With the anglers not going to the lake the local bait shops have struggled to justify keeping their doors open when not getting any business. To say that everyone around here wants some rain is an understatement.
Well, this past weekend Mother Nature gave us a big boost in helping us recover from this drought. Thursday afternoon it started raining and we had a steady rain until Sunday afternoon. During the day Saturday the rain was really heavy at times. This had a lot of the creeks and steams in the area running high and red. Our notorious weatherman then started telling us that there was cold air coming in that was going to meet up with this moisture and turn it to snow sometime Sunday afternoon. When the weatherman started calling for snow we were a little skeptical because we never get much snow here. Usually when we get frozen precipitation it comes in the form of sleet and freezing rain which is usually more trouble than it is worth. If we do get snow it is fine with me because it is great for the ground that we depend on for our crops, pastures, home gardens, and most importantly for hunters like me, our food plots. With snow the moisture goes directly into the ground and doesn’t run off like when we have a heavy rain. Plus according to a lot of old farmers that I have been around over the years, snow puts a lot of nutrients in the ground.
For the first time in a long time the weatherman finally got one right, about 3:30 Sunday afternoon the snow started falling. When it started snowing it didn’t waste much time either because in no time at all the ground was covered. With silver dollar-size snowflakes falling, within two hours we had a measurable amount of snow on the ground. The natural thing to do was for us to get bundled up in some warm clothes and play in the snow. It was the first time my little boy had seen snow but he was playing in it like he had been around it all of his life. After it was all said and done we ended up with a little more than five inches of snow. The sun came out early Monday and the temperature got into the high 40’s, by four o’clock most of the snow was gone but I think it was a great start in helping us get out of this drought.