League City family wins Weather Channel contest
The weather in the Houston area can be unpredictable, but residents in south Texas generally expect the temperature to dip on Christmas Eve, even the occasional snow flurry.
This year, however, snow was not in the forecast — except, that is, for the Hendersons of League City .
When the family - father Trent, mother Ginny, and their three children Jack, 8, Sam, 5 and Ruthie, 3 - awakened on Christmas morning, they were greeted to plenty of snow on their own front lawn.
As grand prize winners in the The Weather Channel's annual "Guaranteed White Christmas" video submission contest, the Hendersons were treated to all the makings of a winter wonderland; real snow, a skating rink, sledding hill, Christmas tree decorating area, and a hot beverage booth. The grand prize also included a $15,000 cash prize, a $1,500 Sears shopping spree and a Tassimo Hot Beverage System.
The family's video was one of hundreds of submissions received and viewed by a panel of judges from the network, which based its decision on creativity and uniqueness.
On Dec. 25, Weather Channel meteorologist Adam Berg and co-host Mary Cobb broadcast live from the home in front of a scene that could easily have been shot in New England, with more than 150 neighbors, family and friends frolicking in the snow.
"I went sledding, and I threw snowballs at the meteorologists," Jack said. "But I couldn't really feel the snow because I had snow gloves on."
David Blumenthal, the network's director of public relations, said the team expected a dip in temperature in the Houston area that day, but Mother Nature gave them a bit more bite in the air than expected.
"We used 'snow magic' out of Los Angeles, but when the wind here (Texas) picked up, it ended up looking like a true snowstorm," Blumental said. "We were a little concerned when that cold front came in. The rain was gone, but the cold and wind was not."
Ginny Henderson said the family has a budding weather forecaster in its midst. In October 2008, a month after Hurricane Ike struck the area, Jack wanted to dress as a weatherman for Halloween, so his mother created a costume for him, then dressed Ruthie as a "typhoon" and Sam as a "hurricane."
Since Ike, she said, Jack has developed a genuine interest in weather-related news, and regularly chooses to watch The Weather Channel over cartoons with his younger siblings.
It was Jack who, with the help of mom and younger siblings, came up with the winning "Guaranteed White Christmas" video entry.
"We have cute kids," said Trent Henderson, a pastor at Heritage Park Baptist Church in Webster, "and my wife put together a killer video."
Ginny Henderson said the experience couldn't possibly have been any better.
"(The snow) may have lasted only a couple of days, but (The Weather Channel) gave us a lifetime of memories," she said.
Jack said it's something he'll never forget.
"Thank you very much for bringing the snow," Jack said of The Weather Channel team. "It was pretty cool."
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