Melting Snow? Sound Boring to Me!

By Jessica Green

As an intern in the Media Library and Archives of WGBH, I get to sit in an air-conditioned office and transcribe index cards from the Boston Public Library’s WHDH local news collection into our FileMaker database. Did I mention there is air-conditioning? In light of the fact that it has been a million degrees outside for the past few weeks, here is a blog entry about that white substance all Bostonians got so sick of this winter after seeing it everywhere month after month. And no, I’m not talking about Chobani, which is the hottest thing to hit the yogurt market since Go-Gurt; I’m talking about snow! Glorious, COLD, COLD snow.

I came across an index card the other day, which had a very boring title and no description: “Melting Snow.” Wow, I thought, I have as little desire to watch that news clip as would to watch paint drying or grass growing. When I looked at the date, March 16, 1969, and confirmed my suspicions on the Boston Globe Archive, I realized that there was a newsworthy story behind the melting snow.

Between February 24th and 28th, 1969, 26.3 inches of snow fell onto Boston, adding to the 11.1 inches that fell between February 9th and 10th, shattering multiple Boston records: most snow accumulation in a single storm and snowiest February in history. $2 million was spent in snow removal and storm related damages were estimated around $150 million. On the bright side, school children were probably happy to have a full week of snow days, even though they couldn’t exactly go sledding. As one weather forecaster was quoted as saying in The Boston Globe, “Unless you’re 5 feet 2 or over, you’re in trouble.”

Because of the warming weather and the abundance of snow still on the ground, flood warnings and announcements flood the Boston Globe from mid-March through mid-April, with headlines like “After the Snow, Flooding Now Sure, ” and “How To Get Free Army Help If Floods Strike Your Town. ” The flooding was indeed disastrous and now I have a sense of what the footage corresponding to the “Melting Snow” index card might look like. In addition to appreciating the heat as an escape from the mountains of snow we had to climb over this past winter, I learned never to judge an index card by its boring title. With a little bit of research, I might find a very interesting story behind it, just waiting to be told.


  • Botwright, Ken O. "New England's Biggest Snow." Boston Globe 2 Mar. 1969: 47. Boston Globe Archive. Web. 29 July 2011.
  • Kenney, Robert. "After the Snow, Flooding Now Sure." Boston Globe 4 Mar. 1969: 1. Boston Globe Archive. Web. 29 July 2011.
  • Campbell, Kenneth. "How To Get Free Army Help If Floods Strike Your Town." Boston Globe 30 Mar. 1969: 40. Boston Globe Archive. Web. 29 July 2011.