Snow 2014 Fredericksburg on the Rappahannock

Snow Covered River - January 25, 2014

Rappahannock River on January 25. 2014 immediately west of the Route 1 bridge.  The river water is difficult to see, if it is visible at all.
Rappahannock River on January 25. 2014 immediately west of the Route 1 bridge. The river water is difficult to see, if it is visible at all.
A second picture - Rappahannock River on January 25. 2014.
A second picture - Rappahannock River on January 25. 2014.

The Rappahannock River flows by the quiet city of Fredericksburg, Virginia. The city was founded near the transition of the river from downhill flow to tidally affected flows. It was one of the ports used for trade by boat, back in the times before our road and bridge infrastructure were modernized and became the more economical means for supporting trade and transportation of goods.

The boundary between the downhill and tidal flow is marked by small rapids, with a north/south bridge crossing over the river right at those rapids. Geography classes teach us that this transition point marks a large scale geographical feature called the fall-line.

In early 2014 the river became snow covered just upstream of the fall line. This occurred when a relatively small snowfall coincided with an extended period (a week or so) of subfreezing temperatures.

River Thaw - January 28, 2014

Rappahannock River on January 28. 2014 in the same location.  The river flows through the snow cover.
Rappahannock River on January 28. 2014 in the same location. The river flows through the snow cover.
A second picture - Rappahannock River on January 28. 2014.
A second picture - Rappahannock River on January 28. 2014.

The river slowly transitioned. As the temperatures began to rise again, the river began to cut a path through the snow cover. Three days after the picture above, the river was once again showing.

The feature in the picture at right is called 'The Washing Machine'. Local stories say this is roughly the location where explorers from Europe first encountered native residents of this area back in the 1500's or 1600's.

The name and the story suggest that first encounter was one where the women were busy washing clothes. The site suggests the men were probably fishing.

Nowadays, it is fairly common to see people fishing, but I can honestly say I've never seen anyone washing their clothes in the river.

More Snow - February 13, 2014

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Going Nowhere.Going Nowhere in either direction.Shovel was ready, but clearing the road will take a little longer.
Going Nowhere.
Going Nowhere.
Going Nowhere in either direction.
Going Nowhere in either direction.
Shovel was ready, but clearing the road will take a little longer.
Shovel was ready, but clearing the road will take a little longer.

It snowed again February 13, 2014. Actually, the snow began the night before. Overnight, it dumped over eight inches. It may have been more than eight inches. By the time I shoveled the walk and could take a ruler out to measure, the snow had settled down to roughly eight and a half inches from sidewalk to top. My shovelling stopped at the end of the walk when a second lighter round of precipitation began. This time it was snow mixed with sleet.

Work closed that day, and the local fire department recommended that folks stay off the roads. You can see why. It is not so terribly bad that it is impassable, but it just seems wise to wait until the snowplows get a chance to clear the roads.

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Comments 7 comments

FitnezzJim profile image

FitnezzJim 2 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia Author

Thornburg has grown up big time. They even have their own McDonalds, and a shopping center.


Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 2 years ago from West Virginia

I love your pictures. My first husband and I lived in Thornburg, south of Fredricksburg, Va. We loved it out there. That was in the mid to late 80's. I now live with my second husband in West Virginia, about 3 hours from Fredricksburg.

Ha! I built colorful raised gardens this last winter so that we could have some color in the yard and around us instead of the boring drab grey of the woods and guess what? It showed so much that we couldn't even see the raised gardens at all. Nature has a sense of humor!


FitnezzJim profile image

FitnezzJim 2 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia Author

Thanks BP, I hear the Great Lakes are freezing over too. It is happening all over this year.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 2 years ago

Terrific history and a terrific amount of snow. I might as well live in Alaska!


FitnezzJim profile image

FitnezzJim 2 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia Author

Joer4x4, the history here is posted on one of those old-fashioned roadside signs. A second summary is displayed in a small sheltered kiosk that provides a pausing spot for people walking the trail through here. When I get a chance I'll walk down there and take pictures of them and add to this article.

Srsddn, the amount of snow here is not that unusual. What is different is the extended cold sub-freezing weather. I’ve talked to folks who have been here much longer than I have, and they indicate the last time this part of the river froze was back in 1983. We see it more often a bit further down river, but not usually on this part of the river.


srsddn profile image

srsddn 2 years ago from Chandigarh, India

fitnezzjim, Seems to be snow all around. It seems to be an exceptional year. Thanks for sharing.


joer4x4 profile image

joer4x4 2 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

Nice job. I find the history of places interesting.

Reminds me a bit of Pennypack Park/Creek flowing through Philly.

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