Wednesday, Jun 20, 2018
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As winter plows on, know your snow terms

Record-setting accumulation has to go sometime


Brian Stewart, left, and John Ashman clear the walkway of a home on Lagrange Street. Mr. Ashman says he appreciates the fresh blanket of snow because it allows the pair to make some money plowing driveways and clearing walks. So it’s time to issue yet another ‘snirt’ alert. ‘Snirt,’ a combination of snow and dirt, is that crusty, dusty, yucky-looking stuff along the edges of highways and byways.

The Blade/Amy E. Voigt
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As the Toledo area springs into the history book with a record-setting winter of snow, it's time to issue yet another snirt alert.

Snirt: that crusty, dusty, yucky-looking stuff along edges of highways and byways at this time of the year.

Dirt and snow, or rather snow and dirt, thus snirt. Blurt it out: Yes, there are snirt events, complete with snirt shirts. Full-throttle ATV enthusiasts muck about in annual snirt contests, for instance. Snowmobilers take part in snirt runs as well.

Barbara Knisely, community development coordinator in the village of Whitehouse where winter was celebrated recently with a special festival, has a way with words when it comes to snow: It "makes-me-want-to-move" phrase.

Others, when asked about their assessment of the word “snow,” responded with adjectives that went something like this: #%$*&!!!

Some snowy, showy words are familiar, such as dendrite, a type of snowflake with six points. This is the popular “snowflake” shape. Raise your safety scissors if you recall your primary-school teacher telling you about dendrite as you folded and then cut white construction paper into snowflakes, a flurry of creativity later Scotch-taped to classroom windows.

Less familiar: firn, snow that is more than a year old, but has yet to consolidate into ice.

Certainly, the Toledo area will be snow-free by June, way short of a year. It just seems as though firn is already firmly in place.

It’s been several or more years since a few inches of snow blanketed the area in early May. It was warm enough that the snow melted by afternoon, but still, it was measurable snow a few weeks from the start of summer.

Earlier this winter, many farm fields in the area resembled white sand dunes with what are known as ripples — marks on the surface of snow, similar to ripples in sand, caused by wind.

After a rip-snorting winter, it seems time to wave so long to the snowy ripples.

Songs, poems, and movies feature snow.

Looking for something to do until the March thaw? Write snow poetry. Oh, snow, glow, blow. Oh, snow, lie low, penalty free throw. Oh, snow, ski tow, Henry David Thoreau.

Snow coats conversation year-round.

Food: snow crab, snow peas.

Plants: snowberry, snowdrop, snowbell, snow bush.

In the animal kingdom: snow bunting, snow goose, snowshoe hare, snowy egret, snowy owl, snow leopard.

Movie characters: Snow White, Snow Dogs, Snow Queen.

County fair treats: snow cones

Then there’s the handy dandy blizzard of snowy words online at Scrabble Finder: snowblowers, snowboard, snowbrushes, snowmobiles, snowblinks, snowdrifts, snowflakes, snowmakers, snowscapes, snowshoe, snowslides, snowstorms, snowballs, snowbanks, snowbelts, snowbound, snowdrift, snowfall, snowfield, snowmaker, snowmelt, snowmold, snowplows, snowcaps.

And as the Toledo area packs on more wintry precipitation, taking us higher into record-setting territory: snow, snowy, snowier, snowiest.

Contact Janet Romaker at: or 419-724-6006.

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