Ice on the beach, but it could be worse

Published: Thursday, January 30, 2014 at 06:04 PM.

Adrianne Walline, who was born in DeFuniak Springs and lived in Grayton until she was 6, also has wintry memories. She lived on Choctawhatchee Bay until last year.

"I remember as a kid the bay being frozen in the 1960s," she said. "It happened again in the 1970s, and in 1989 the temperature was below freezing for two days and three nights. The water was frozen 100 yards out the first night, and the second day, that doubled. The power was out for 10 hours and ice accumulated on the inside of my windows.

“We had gas space heaters and a gas stove we used for heat, and the old land line phone. And, yes, it snowed then too, and snow was on our car. It was just enough to dust everything. When the canals froze, people went out on it and picked mullet up from on top of the ice."

But by all accounts, the recent deep freeze and its circumstances were highly unusual. It left residents feeling grateful they still had electricity and pondering what life would be like without it. It also turned folks’ concerns to for those farther north, some of whom were South Walton residents away from home.

County Road 30A residents Tricia and Mark Northcutt found themselves in the midst of major snags around Birmingham, Ala., while traveling home from Indiana.

"We ended up in Hoover, Ala., because the weather report predicted chaos and we knew we needed to get a room or there wouldn't be any left," Tricia said. Northcutt said hotel employees spent the night at the hotel so all went smoothly for guests, and there was a party atmosphere as no one could leave.

"The biggest problem appears to be the abandoned cars," she said. "We were very lucky. This is a winter to remember."

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