Recently we looked at the weather on Jan. 13, 1999 – the day Hae Min Lee went missing. In Episode 1, Asia McClain, Adnan’s potential alibi witness, tells Sarah she specifically remembers seeing Adnan after school on Jan. 13 at the Woodlawn Public Library. She says she remembers that day because of the snow. It was possibly “the first snow of the year” and she remembers getting snowed in at her boyfriend’s house that night. She also thinks that school was cancelled the next two days.
So we were curious about when the weather got bad that day. Was it snowing that night in Leakin Park? How about when Jay and Adnan were driving around Baltimore County, from school to "Cathy’s" and then to Jay’s house and wherever else?
We looked up the weather for Wednesday, Jan. 13 and Thursday, Jan. 14, 1999. The Baltimore area certainly got hit by a big ice storm beginning in the early morning of Jan. 14. The storm left the area without power for a few days and closed Baltimore County schools on both Jan. 14 and Jan. 15.
But going by the hourly (and sometimes more often than hourly) observed weather reports, there was no significant ice, rain or snow on Jan. 13. A light, freezing rain started falling around 4:30 a.m. on the morning of Jan. 14 and continued for the rest of the day.
But no snow.
So it seems unlikely Asia would have been stuck at her boyfriend’s house on the evening of Jan. 13, because the ice storm didn’t start until 4:30 on the morning of Jan. 14.
Was Asia mistaken about seeing Adnan in the library on Jan. 13? Could it have been a different day? Asia says she thought it was “the first snow of the year.” The Baltimore weather reports for January of 1999 tell us that the first snow of the year was a week earlier – on Friday, Jan. 8. Snow began falling on Jan. 8 around 4:00 in the morning and then fell consistently for the rest of the day. The National Weather Service reported four inches of snow on the ground by the end of the day.
So we wondered if maybe this was the day Asia actually saw Adnan in the library.
But here’s the thing: There was no school on Jan. 8. In a Baltimore Sun article from Jan. 9, Baltimore County Schools spokesman Charles Herndon is quoted as saying, "Not only was there the snow in the morning, but we were particularly worried about later in the afternoon with more hazardous conditions in freezing rain and sleet." So neither Asia nor Adnan would have been at school on Friday, Jan. 8 and, presumably, they wouldn’t have been at the library – the library that is essentially on the campus of Woodlawn High School – that afternoon either.
Considering that in just one week there were three school days cancelled due to weather, it seems possible Asia conflated these two weather events. But if her memory of talking to Adnan in the library is specifically tied to snow, then it’s unlikely that the day she is remembering is Jan. 13.