FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- When Ralph Jones, a retiree, made plans to visit his grandchildren last weekend, it is doubtful he anticipated another road hazard -- snow.

"I love it, I love the snow," said the Hopkins resident as he filled up his gas tank on a noticeably quiet post Saturday.

Jones said it wasn't unusual that few people seemed to be on post.

"South Carolina will always shut down when it snows," he said.

By mid-afternoon Friday, agencies across Columbia, including Fort Jackson, were adjusting to the snowfall. The post temporarily closed some gates and instituted other contingency plans, including closing schools early and preparing trucks to shovel the snow.

By the time Jones filled up his tank Saturday afternoon, there was still some snow on the ground. But it bore little resemblance to the heavy snow that fell Friday evening, the most snow the area has seen in nearly 40 years. According to the National Weather Service, 8.6 inches of snow fell at the Columbia Metropolitan Airport, making it the fifth biggest snowfall on record for Columbia. It was the most snow the city has seen since February1973, when the biggest snowfall totaled 16 inches.

While many seemed to take the day off, some were taking advantage of the snow.
In the post family housing area, children and parents carried sleds, threw snowballs and built snowmen.

Michael Webster, 11, Samuel Webster, 9, and Gabriel Boucher,7, enjoyed a snowball fight outside their on-post house Saturday morning. And though the snow was welcome, it was not an unusual occurrence for the New York natives.

"We're used to the snow," said Michael, as he dodged a snowball. "When we woke up, we found snow all over the place. But we're used to it."

Neighbor Montrel Jones, 12, built a snowman nearby as his mother, Terra Jones, sipped coffee on her porch.

Like many Columbians, she stocked up on necessities Friday in preparation for a snowy weekend. And though she played in the snow with her children the night before, that morning, she was interested in only watching.

"I had my share of it yesterday," she said of the snow.