The Big Snow of ’73


A bush outside my window, Columbus, GA, 3/1/2009

A bush outside my window, Columbus, GA, 3/1/2009

As I looked out my window this morning and enjoyed the novelty of snow in Columbus, Georgia,  I had to reflect on the biggest snowfall in Columbus in my lifetime.  It happened on February 9th and 10th, 1973.  Columbus got 14 inches of snow. 

It just about paralyzed the city with mainly only police and emergency vehicles traveling the streets.  I was the news director of WRBL Radio and TV at the time,  and the legendary chalk tosser Doug Wallace was the station’s weatherman.  Doug called me and said, “I can’t come in, Dick.  Snow has covered the streets around my house,  and you can’t even see the curbs.”

“Doug,  of all days, you have do the weather today.  We’ll come get you.”

And we did.  A friendly soul at Fort Benning called and offered us the use of his tire chains for one of our news cars.  We took him up on it and sent that car out to pick up Doug.  He gave his usual entertaining and informative weather-cast on the evening and 11 p.m. news, and the car with tire chains took him and other employees who couldn’t see their streets home that night.

On Saturday, I called our affiliated network CBS and offered some film of the snow in Columbus, explaining what a big event 14 inches of snow was for the area.   The person I talked with said he would think about it.  After I told him I knew that the NBC affiliate in Columbus was sending film of the event to that network,  he quickly made his mind up.  Later, when the check came in for the film we sent,  I used it to hold a luncheon at a fancy restaurant  for the news department.


3 Responses to “The Big Snow of ’73”

  1. Fran Hobbs Says:

    Thank you so very much for this article. We were talking about this at work today. I can remember Doug Wallace tossing the chalk when all we could get on TV was Channel 3and 9.

  2. sandi wilson Says:

    I remember the storm vividly.I was 14 yo.It was the day after my birthday.It was a really beautiful site.Wow thats been an eternity ago!!!

  3. Buddy & Glenda Arrowsmith Says:

    BugleArrow: Our daughter, now a grade school teacher at Sherwood Elementary in Phenix City, AL., was born February 14, 1973. Her Mom and I sweated that cold snowy time for a couple of days wondering how, if needed,we could get her to the Hospital. A friend across the street worked at Colonial Bakery and brought home the 4wd Jeep and he set our mind at ease. Thanks for good friends and neighbors.

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