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Columbia Missourian

DEAR READER: 'Snowpocalypse' is history. Was it historic?

By Tom Warhover
February 6, 2011 | 4:20 p.m. CST

Dear Reader,

Was this week’s storm historic? Or just historical?

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Historic means important. Momentous. Really big. The stuff that will be remembered two generations from now.

Historical is, well, everything. It’s history. Literally.

The argument broke out on the copy desk Thursday. For editors, a debate over words is as irresistible as a puddle to a small boy in rubber boots.

Editors Scott Swafford and Greg Bowers asserted the negative.

It wasn’t the biggest snow on record. A mere 17.7 inches, in fact, second to the near 20 inches of ’95. (Who remembers the team that lost last year’s Super Bowl?)

Bowers said “historic” is overused these days and should be held closer to the vest.

The Civil War Battle of Gettysburg is OK, he said. The first moon landing works.

Maggie Walter argued the affirmative.

Walter spent years in New Hampshire and Maine, where I’m quite certain an 18-inch snow doesn’t qualify.

Any blizzard (or near-blizzard) qualifies, Walter said, when you’re in Missouri.

I chimed in by noting that MU closed for three days – as many times as in the past century combined.

Speaking of centuries: The next closest snowfall, at 13.9 inches, came in 1900. It was another February storm.

What say you, dear reader?

Tom