‘If it thunders in February, it will frost in April’|[2/24/05]

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 24, 2005

Plan for chilly weather in April. And while you’re at it, throw some salt over your shoulder, avoid the black cat crossing your path, and for goodness sakes, pick up that lucky penny.

Slightly more than an inch of rain fell on Warren County during a Wednesday afternoon thunderstorm, city water treatment plant officials reported. Slightly more than 4.6 inches of rain have fallen in February, bringing the total to 10 inches for the year. The high temperature was 65 degrees while the low was 47 degrees. The average February temperature is 53 degrees, National Weather Service reports show.

The inclement weather brought to mind the old wives’ tale, “If it thunders in February, it will frost in April.”

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Though the area was under a severe thunderstorm warning by the National Weather Service, no roads were closed and no injuries were reported because of the rain. But flash flooding was reported on U.S. 61 South near LeTourneau, Pemberton Boulevard, North Frontage Road and North Washington Street. Five wrecks were reported to the Warren County E-911 dispatch center, but no injuries were reported .

“Anytime we get that type of a downpour in that short of a time, there are areas that traditionally get a lot of water,” said L.W. “Bump” Callaway, director of emergency management for Warren County.

High winds gusting up to 17 mph blew down a traffic light at Grange Hall Road and U.S. 61 South, but it was put back up in a short time.

“That’s the only report of anything we had during that time,” Callaway said.

Gordon Cotton, curator of the Old Court House Museum, recalled hearing the old wives’ tale about February thunder from his mother.

“I’ve heard it and I’ve seen it happen,” he said.

Cotton said he believed unusually warm weather brought about the thunderstorms that are rare in this area during February.

As a 68-year resident of Warren County, Cotton said he couldn’t remember a time when the April frost didn’t come after the February thunder.

“I’m going to be 69 in April. Probably the day it frosts,” Cotton said.