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Monster snow storm top story for 2010
Record snowfalls was top local story of 2010

 A man heads home on Bunker Hill Street in Fredericksburg in February after a day of shoveling the remnants of 17-plus inches of snow.
FILE PHOTOS/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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Date published: 12/31/2010

The biggest story of 2010 started before the year even began--and seemed to last all winter.

By spring's arrival, 54 inches of snow had fallen on the Fredericksburg area over the winter, enough to tower over most preschoolers.

Words failed to describe the snow, so people created new phrases such as "Snowmaggeddon" and "Snowpocalypse" to reflect its overwhelming relentlessness.

Residents endured power outages, repeated driveway shoveling and damaged roofs. There were neighborhood tiffs over who had the right to use a cleared parking spot, as people marked their territory with lawn furniture. School calendars and athletic schedules were upended. In Washington, federal government offices closed for four consecutive workdays in February.

The first snowstorm technically arrived in 2009 on Dec. 18-19, dumping 19.3 inches of snow on the Fredericksburg area and foiling holiday shopping the last weekend before Christmas.

Then, after the new year, the snow continued: an inch on Jan. 7, 8 inches on Jan. 30, an inch on Feb. 2, 17 inches on Feb. 5-6 and 8 inches on Feb. 9-10.

The record snow was the clear winner as the top story of the past year in an online vote by fredericksburg.com users. Here are the others that made the top 10:

2. FATAL FIRE BRINGS CHANGES IN SPOTSY

A nighttime fire Feb. 5 that claimed the life of a Spotsylvania woman--and the missed chances to rescue her--led to a state review of fire services in the county and numerous changes.

During the fire, a county resident listened on his scanner to a dispatcher's futile attempt to get firefighters to find the bedroom where Sandy Hill was on the phone with the dispatch center. The next day, he called The Free Lance-Star and described what he heard.

The paper filed a Freedom of Information request to obtain the 911 recordings, and news stories ultimately led to an internal review and eventually a review by state officials. As a result, county officials are in the process of implementing reforms in the fire-and-rescue system.

3. MASSAPONAX HIGH GRAD named MISS AMERICA


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Here are the top 10 stories as selected by The Free Lance-Star's news staff:

1. Record snowfalls 2. Spotsylvania fire-and-rescue overhaul 3. Judy Hample resigns as UMW president 4. HCA opens Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center 5. Caressa Cameron crowned Miss America 6. UMW opens Eagle Village 7. National Scout Jamboree 8. Teenager accused of stabbing mother to death 9. King George native Jermon Bushrod helps New Orleans Saints win Super Bowl 10. (tie) Kalahari project in question; and Stafford reaches deal on Comp Plan and UDAs