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Recent snow storms jog the memory



Published: Fri, January 21, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



As a United States Navy sailor during World War II, I didn't experience our tough Ohio winters. In 1943, 1944 and 1945, those winters were spent in the hot, humid climate of the Asiatic-Pacific War Zone.

Upon returning from Japan to Seattle, Wash., I boarded a troop train heading for discharge in Toledo. It was February 1946 and as we stopped at a train station in Butte, Montana, there was 4 feet of snow on the roof tops.

The next memorable snow I recall was Youngstown's big Thanksgiving Day snowfall of 1950. I was in Chicago that day and could not get home for several days. In January 1978, I was on a plant safety inspection for Commercial Intertech, Inc. at our Berkeley Springs, W.Va. plant. Once again I was delayed in coming home for one day because both the Ohio and Pennsylvania Turnpikes were closed. My 1975 Monte Carlo with its snow tires got me home.

Disabled jet

In the early 1980's, I was going on another plant safety inspection at our Chicago Forging Plant, when coming in for a landing at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport there was 30 inches of snow. The first sight we saw was a huge Flying Tiger cargo plane that had skidded off the runway into a snowbank. Cars on the streets were buried under the snow.

My most harrowing experience was on my way to the Pittsburgh Airport in March 1984. As I neared North Lima in my 1978 Caprice Classic, a sudden blizzard struck and I was blinded by the snow.

As I traveled on Route 7 through the strip mining area, I couldn't see the side of the road. I felt surely I would end up in a ditch. This whiteout could have caused a blackout for me. I was determined to go to Houston, Texas, to receive a National Safety Award for Commercial Intertech.

I did make it to the airport in time. In retrospect, it would have been much safer to have pulled off the road instead of heading into the snow squall.

X Michael J. Lacivita is a Youngstown retiree. A collection of his columns, "Rag Man, Rag Man," has been published by Pig Iron Press, Youngstown.




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