- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 27, 2001

RICHMOND (AP) Virginians who dreamed of a white Christmas were disappointed again this year except for one family.
David and Patti Lacy and their three sons enjoyed a partially white Christmas at their home in suburban Richmond.
Their middle son, Graham, a senior at Liberty University, built a machine that made enough snow to cover part of their front yard.
Mr. Lacy was inspired to build his snowmaking machine after seeing one for sale in a retail store selling ski equipment. The "Back Yard Blizzard" sells for about $3,000. Mr. Lacy built his own for about $200.
A snowmaking machine is pretty low-tech, he said.
"Basically, it's just an air compressor and a pressure washer. It's simple to make one," he said.
Mr. Lacy cranked up his machine several nights ago when the temperature finally dropped below freezing.
An hour later, about 1,000 square feet of the sloping front yard was covered by 3 inches of snow enough for a group of neighborhood children to sled down the hill.
A second "snowstorm" on Christmas Eve added a few more inches. By Christmas, the accumulation in the yard was about 6 inches, which represents about 1,200 gallons of water from the family's well, Mr. Lacy estimates.
"Graham has become a snow engineer," David Lacy said.
Last year, the young inventor created a smaller, hand-held gadget and used it to make a large pile of snow farther from the house.
"We spread the pile around with a tractor, then we rode around it in circles on a snowmobile," he said.
This year, he learned that the ideal temperature for making snow is 22 degrees Fahrenheit.
"It's amazing how much he's learned about weather," Patti Lacy said.
Her son, however, says building the snowmaking machine was mainly about having fun.
"It's just cool to make snow."

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