Winter wonderland: Snow brings out giddiness in locals

Grayson Fingerlin, 12, front, and Erin Allee,15, take their turn sliding down a hill near their Lexington home.
Grayson Fingerlin, 12, front, and Erin Allee,15, take their turn sliding down a hill near their Lexington home. The State

Tim Hawks had just pulled an all-nighter at the National Weather Center in Columbia. But when the meteorologist returned home early Saturday morning following a double shift, he was greeted by his wife, Kathy, who was bundled up and ready to hit the soft and fluffy outdoors.

"Tired as he was, we romped in the rapidly melting snow - making snow angels, throwing snowballs and taking lots of pictures," Kathy Hawks said. "It's amazing what a snowfall can do to normally quite sensible people."

Similar scenarios were played out across the Midlands Saturday morning as snow-starved residents made the most of the long-awaited flurries. Make that a small blizzard. The 8.6 inches recorded at the Columbia Metropolitan Airport made it the fifth-biggest snowfall in Columbia's history.

But with the promise of sunshine later in the day, many headed outside early Saturday morning to help themselves to the snow before it melted.

That group included Columbia's Thedra Boykin and her 8-year-old grandson, Favion Moultrie, who were building a snowman just after 7 a.m. at her home in the Taylor community off Shop Road.

"It was exciting to him," Boykin said of Favion, who was experiencing his first significant snowfall and riddled her with questions about building the perfect snowman.

Students as the University of South Carolina meanwhile made the most of sleds or other makeshift sliding devices, while some nearby Shandon youngsters took aim at targets with cleverly crafted "sno-ccer" balls.

Lexington's Lew Whiting took a more functional approach as he headed out to shovel his driveway Saturday morning.

Whiting said he'd retired his snow shovel 25 years ago when he moved from the Baltimore area to south Florida. He moved to Lexingon seven years ago.

"We chose to come to South Carolina because everybody told us that Charlotte was kind of the cut-off for the snow," he said. But he has no regrets.

"That was a nice surprise," he said. "I'd rather see snow than ice anytime. I've got my shoveling done, and I'm good for the next six to 10 years."

The snowfall brought a welcome birthday present to Abraham Khalil of Lexington, who turned 6 on Friday. The youngster had watched the weather forecasts with his parents and had been hoping for a gift wrapped in white.

"The weather man said there was going to be a chance," he said. "I hoped it would, and it snowed."

The gift didn't go unused, as he built a snowman with his father and his younger sister, Samira.

"He looks like Frosty to me," Abraham said Friday night. "Tomorrow (Saturday) morning, I'm going to go back and play in it again."

The weekend weather was welcomed even by some folks more accustomed to heavy snowfall.

Patty Pavan, a New York native, moved here four years ago and said she's been having snow withdrawals before this weekend.

"I was out in the dark snapping pictures Friday night and early Saturday morning until my batteries ran out. Thanks to South Carolina for the winter wonderland. Let it snow!"

The storm prompted South Carolinians on Facebook to start a group called "It Snowed in S.C. on Feb. 12 and I Ran Around in It." By 1 a.m. Sunday, the group had some 30,000 members who had posted more than 3,300 photos.

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