As promised by weather experts, snow measuring between three and six inches blanketed much of Georgia, including McDuffie and Warren counties this past weekend.
It was the largest snowfall to hit the Central Savannah River Area since 1973 when more than a foot of snow fell on much of the area.
School officials in both McDuffie and Warren counties began dismissing students between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Many of them were home when the first snowflakes began falling in Thomson about 2:20 p.m.
Snowflakes began falling lightly at first, but later intensified Friday afternoon. Some of the first youngsters to see the flakes were seen jumping up and down in the driveway of a residence on First Avenue in Thomson. They included Qualanda Ingram, 11, a fourth-grader at R.L. Norris Elementary School; Skyler Youngblood, 7, a second-grader at Thomson Elementary School; Quanetra Ingram, 8, a first-grader at J.A. Maxwell Elementary School; and Nehemiah Ceaser, 10, a fourth-grader; and Nick Hudson, 12, a sixth-grader -- both of whom attend Sand Hills in Thomson.
"I can't believe it's really snowing," yelled Skyler.
Her sister, Quanetra, added, "It's so much fun."
Friends Cassidy Wright and Kate Wells, both 12 and sixth-graders at Briarwood Academy, walked briskly through downtown Thomson to get home in the falling snow.
When Cassidy and Kate neared the Thomson Depot, the smell of steaks being cooked outside on grills by members of the Thomson Shrine Club filled the air. The benefit steak dinner was heavily supported by area residents and was not affected by the weather.
Before 6 p.m., the steady snowfall was accumulating on vehicles, trees and roadways.
As the snowfall increased, more youngsters stormed out of their homes to play in it. Several gathered to engage in a snowball fight in the front yard of a residence off Grady Street in Thomson. They included Qualanda Ingram, Danielle Taylor and Will, Christian, Ruby, Seth and Dixie Whitaker.
One of the first snowmen spotted was built by Ella Johnson, 6, her father, Scott Johnson, and another family member, Maria Celeste Johnson, 16. Ella is a first-grader and Maria is a junior at Briarwood Academy.
The snowman had a Georgia Tech scarf around its neck and was even featured on WJBF-TV News Channel 6 -- news partners of The McDuffie Mirror -- during the 11 p.m. Friday newscast.
Snowmen of all sizes were seen in neighborhoods throughout Thomson on Saturday. Two of the biggest ones spotted included one in front of Bradshaw Real Estate on Main Street and another one in front of a residence on Central Road.
"This is like something you would see up north, not here in Thomson," laughed Robbie Brunner, as he watched his wife, Liz, and son, Ben, having fun in a field covered by snow across from The Brickyard.
"We got a sled for Christmas in 2002 and haven't been able to use it until now."
It had been in their storage shed until last weekend when Mr. and Mrs. Brunner took turns pulling their son and several of his friends on the sled by four-wheeler. Ben is a fifth-grader at Briarwood Academy.
Other friends enjoying the fun included Taylor Newton, a freshman at Briarwood Academy, Max Swann, 14, a freshman at Thomson-McDuffie Junior High School; and Bo Swann, Scott Swann and Ky Poss, all of Thomson.
"This is really pretty and a great place for these kids to have fun riding the sled," said Scott Swann, a teacher at Warren County High School.
Youngsters on Central Road, meanwhile, spent the better part of Saturday morning making what they described as the "largest snowball in the world." They included Chris Tucker, 10, a fourth-grader, and Austin Brown, a fifth-grader, both at Norris Elementary; and Shatoria Tucker, 7, a second-grader at Thomson Elementary.
"This is so much fun," exclaimed Shatoria.
Meanwhile, Taylor Deaton, 11, a Norris Elementary fifth-grader; and Thomson-McDuffie Junior High students Kiera Germany, 14, and Linzy Stewart, 13, both eighth-graders, played in the snow in front of the old Fred's store on Washington Road.