Snow storm rages across continental US

Abigail Holycross, Reporter

   Over the week of Feb. 15-19, Arkansas and much of the southern United States saw record breaking snowfall and record low temperatures. Fort Smith received 6 inches  and temperatures dropped to  -6 degrees. Every state in the continental US except Florida had measurable snowfall. The snowy weather caused power outages and broken water pipes throughout Fort Smith.

   “The snowstorm of 2021 included some of the coldest temperatures ever recorded in Fort Smith since record keeping started in the 1800s. This was the first time the Arkansas River has frozen over in recent memory. The -6 degrees is the 4th coldest on record in Fort Smith with the coldest being -10 degrees on Jan 11, 1977,” local meteorologist Garrett Lewis said.

   The weather prompted Fort Smith schools to declare a virtual learning week. Virtual learning days allowed students to complete all work online without having to make up inclement weather days at the end of the school year. 

   “[The snow days] were not stressful at all. It was nice to be able to catch up on work and also spend time with my family in the snow. The snow days gave me a lot of flexibility in my work schedule which was great especially with a crazy week like that,” junior Alexyss Gipson said. 

   The snow week allowed students the opportunity to spend time with their families and friends in snow that many  Arkansans had never experienced. Popular activities among students included sledding and building snowmen, while others opted for more daring activities like sledding while being pulled by a car. 

   “After years of not having snow, it was amazing to see it again. I still can’t believe how much we got. My dad had the idea to pull a sled behind his car, which resulted in a few bruises. But in the end, it was the best time,” said sophomore Haley Cline.