Snow 2014 Fredericksburg on the Rappahannock
Snow Covered River - 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
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, 2014Click thumbnail to view full-size
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 was not so terribly bad that it was impassable, but it just seemed wise to wait until the snowplows had a chance to clear the roads.