Be careful what you wish for. 

Growing up in North Texas, I always hoped for a White Christmas. There’s something about snow on the ground on Christmas morning that makes the holiday feel complete. 

And while it snows occasionally in our neck of the woods, it rarely happens on Christmas. That wasn’t the case in 2009.

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I remember forecasters saying that snow could be headed for Wichita Falls on Christmas Eve that year but I didn’t think much of it. Precipitation always seems to dodge our city. 

However, the snow did start falling that morning. And by noon, it had started to come down hard. 

I worked at Texas Recreation at the time, and we were having our Christmas party in the breakroom at lunch. I remember looking out the window and was shocked at just how hard it was snowing. 

The party wrapped up and everyone left for the day, but many people were having a hard time getting out of the parking lot, including myself. Thankfully a couple of coworkers with 4-wheel drive pickups, stayed behind to push cars that were stuck, and I was eventually able to get on the road. 

But what was usually about a 15-minute commute took about an hour or two (I can’t remember exactly how long it took, but it felt like forever). 

For the first time in my life, I was scared for my safety during a snowstorm. Between the heavy snow and high winds, I couldn’t see more than about 50 feet in front of me. I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it home.  

At one point, I was stuck behind a line of vehicles that were struggling to make the uphill climb on Seymour Highway between Loop 11 and McNiel Avenue. Me and a couple of other guys who were stuck got out and helped push cars ahead of us that were struggling. 

I was finally able to get over the hill and on my way, but the little car I was driving at the time got stuck in a snowbank. Lucky for me, I was only about a block from home and was able to walk the rest of the way. 

Many others weren’t as fortunate. 

I remember hearing stories of people stuck on the highway and heroes in big, 4-wheel drive pickups helping dig them out. No doubt those people saved a few lives that day. 

Officially, over 8 inches of snow fell over an eight-hour period, according to Newschannel 6, crippling the city. 

Thankfully, no one lost their life here in Wichita Falls. But according to the National Weather Service, at least nine fatalities were reported in Oklahoma. 

To this day, folks around here become a little more on edge when weather forecasters start talking about the possibility of blizzard-like conditions. I know that I, for one, no longer take winter weather lightly.

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