It’s snow joke: Delawareans enjoy a rare wintry day off

By Mike Finney
Posted 1/4/22

MAGNOLIA — With accumulating snow a rarity in Delaware over the past several years, most interested in playing in the powdery white stuff have been forced to take a three-hour trip to the Pocono Mountains.

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It’s snow joke: Delawareans enjoy a rare wintry day off

Posted

MAGNOLIA — With accumulating snow a rarity in Delaware over the past several years, most interested in playing in the powdery white stuff have been forced to take a three-hour trip to the Pocono Mountains.

That’s why Monday’s storm was so enjoyable for children — and adults — who got the chance to get outside and sled, see their breath in the cold air or maybe throw a snowball or two.

It was free — a gift from Mother Nature — and it was in everybody’s backyard, so no road trip was needed.

In fact, Monday’s snowfall totals haven’t been seen around here since Jan. 23, 2016, said associate state climatologist Kevin Brinson.

Relishing the experience, several children found a steep hill off the west side of the Del. 1 overpass at the St. Jones River the perfect place to feel chills and thrills on a welcome Tuesday off from school.

Orest Stelmach of Magnolia reveled in watching his daughters, Ella, 9, and Amor, 7, take turns sledding down the side of the hill.

“It’s awesome. It’s beautiful,” Mr. Stelmach said. “The pines have got snowdrifts on them, and the air is fresh and clean and crisp, and the snow is deep enough to do whatever you want — snow skiing or cross-country skiing. It’s beautiful out here.

“It was a surprise. Everybody woke up, and looking out there at the blizzard, the girls were just a-hootin’ and a-hollerin’.”

Mr. Stelmach said his family has a little hill behind their house in Jonathan’s Landing in Magnolia, “but it got a little too small for them after the first 100 runs, so they were looking for something a little more adventurous. So I decided to take them on a little adventure.”

Ella and Amor’s adventure included what appeared to be about a 25-foot drop from near the top of the overpass to the bottom of the ridge, adjacent to the Barkers Landing boat launch.

Ella, a fourth grader at Allen Frear Elementary School, said that, while she enjoyed the day off, she really liked the opportunity to spend some time with her family.

“I love the snow,” she said. “I thought that there was going to be no snow in the winter, so I just had to play in it this year. We haven’t had a lot recently, but it’s fun getting a chance to get outside and have fun with my dad.”

Ella did suffer a minor injury near the end of her fun-filled morning, though.

“We had a small injury, a little pinkie,” Mr. Stelmach said. “She crashed into one of the small pines there a little bit, so her pinkie hurts, but it’s not too bad. We’ll forget about it as soon as we get home and get on the laptop and start playing the Roblox and Minecraft games.”

The snow day also attracted Felton’s Bill Weeks and his sons, Peyton, 13, and Brayden, 10, to the instant — and probably quite temporary — sledding attraction.

“It was nice to get a couple of extra days off with the snow,” Mr. Weeks said. “It’s probably been about two years since we’ve had decent snow for sledding. We moved here in 2009, and that year, we got like 3 feet of snow. Normally, there’s like 20 or 30 people out here.”

But the hill near Barkers Landing turned into the Weekses’ own personal sledding spot for a while Tuesday.

“I’m having a lot of fun,” Peyton said. “We haven’t been able to go sledding lately. I just like sledding. It’s really fun. It’s fun to get outside in the snow with my brother.”

Though many around Delaware enjoyed the wonder of winter Tuesday, that feeling may be short-lived, as the National Weather Service is calling for a chance of rain before noon Wednesday, with temperatures getting near 44.