Actual Factual Georgia: When did Atlanta have its most snow?

Q: What year did we get a huge snowfall in Atlanta? Maybe it was the early 1940s? The news said it was the most snowfall ever recorded. I was too small to remember.

—Ethyleen Tyson, Villa Rica

A: Imagine what more than eight inches of snow would do to Atlanta these days.

The weather outside certainly was frightful on Jan. 23, 1940, when 8.3 inches fell on the city, the most in Atlanta history, according to the National Weather Service.

An AJC photo taken from that day showed a mailman on skis and another one showed a car attempting to navigate a snow covered street.

Even a young Martin Luther King Jr., who had just turned 11, documented the historic storm in a letter to his dad, who was in Ohio. The letter is part of the King Papers Project at Stanford.

“We are having some snow and the last report we heard the snow was a (little) more than ten and a half inches and we are really having a fine time (making) snow men and throwing snow balls. And the policemen made everybody clean off their sidewalks and Christine and I cleaned (it) off and it was a hard job. … We can not go to (school) until Monday because it is (too) bad.”

If you want to compare 1940 with January 2014, that mess was created by 2.6 inches.

Q: Are rattlesnake roundups still held in Georgia? They were very popular at one time.

A: Folks shake when they hear the rattle of those venomous snakes in the woods, but visitors roll out in the thousands to Georgia’s remaining rattlesnake festivals.

Rattlesnake roundups started more than 70 years ago around the U.S. as a way for towns or areas to help reduce venomous snake populations.

They still exist, including in the south Georgia town of Whigham, where snakes are captured during the Whigham Rattlesnake Roundup every January. Opponents say rattlesnake roundups contribute to the decline of rattlesnakes and other species, especially the eastern diamondback.

As a result, many of the roundups have done away with the hunting of rattlesnakes and evolved into festivals with vendors, inflatables and wildlife education and conservation programs.

That includes the Claxton Rattlesnake and Wildlife Festival, which is in its 48th year. It changed from a roundup in 2012.

Coordinator Heather Dykes is expecting between 18,000 and 20,000 people at this year’s event, which is scheduled for March 14-15 in the town about an hour west of Savannah.

Actor John Schneider, who played Bo Duke on the “Dukes of Hazzard,” helped boost attendance in 2014, and Justin Martin and “Mountain Man” from “Duck Dynasty” are scheduled to attend this weekend.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.

If you’re new in town or have questions about this special place we call home, ask us! E-mail Andy Johnston at q& or call 404-222-2002.