A report from a man on the ground

Montana reader confirms how bad it is.
“We’ve been digging out of 36”+ (1 m) snow drifts for the past week.” __________________

A report from a man on the ground

By Chet Walker

Montana’s Bitterroot Valley is affectionately referred to as having a Banana Belt weather system. However, the unusual can happen anywhere …even HERE.

Missoula received 8.5 inches when Stevensville received 26” (officially); but at our place we lucked out and got an extra foot of snow (36”+ here) and I’m a mile from the river, about 10 miles from the nearest mountains.

I live 6 miles from Stevensville on the east side of the valley. Stevensville’s proximity to the Bitterroot River is about 1 mile. The valley floor (Bitterroot Mountains to Sapphire Mountains) varies about 15 to 20 miles across dependent on foothills. I don’t think avalanche is a concern for Stevensville. If someone built a house at the base of the foothills or up on the mountain, located it near an avalanche chute, THEY may have some concerns.

I have a small livestock setup and we’ve been digging out of 36” snow drifts for the past week. I bought Becky a snow-blower (I’m so kind). We need open trails to access farm buildings and livestock and their hay. We also have to clear driveways and un-maintained roads to County maintained roads. The real problem is clearing enough room for livestock to manage their daily routine. We have a large barn, so our livestock were all held inside for three-days while we cleared what we could. Keeping livestock inside, against their usual routine, creates testy livestock. We all fought through the event and everything is back to semi-normal.

Wading through waist deep snow at 71 years (and after two bad heart attacks) is NOT fun when feeding & watering livestock. To add insult to injury, we had bouts of gusty wind for two days that packed the top crust of snow drifts …doubling the effort to break trails.

My fence posts are about 1-foot from being covered. If snow pack gets really hard livestock can wander off OVER the fences at will, so clearing holding paddocks for them is critical. Try moving hay by hand and watering livestock with 5-gallon pails and you’ll quit or freeze in the wind if you don’t wear the right stuff.

My neighbor asked if we could dig him out, too. I have a Ranger UTV with a snow-blade to cut a trail to his place and he couldn’t believe we even made it. It took a couple of hours pushing snow to clear his dilemma up so he could get to where he works; luckily I’m retired.

We rarely get a snow drop like this. The last time was ten or twelve years ago. Normal snow conditions are 2 to 4 inches of snow and with warm days that disappears until the next dusting. Where we live it’s normally almost sinfully pleasant. It’s getting crowded nowadays because outsiders have discovered the open winters. If out-of-state people call during the winter and ask “how’s the weather” (because their winter is horrible) I say I can still see the tops of the power poles; I just don’t connect the observation with snow. I’ve been known to ask if I should mow the lawn on December 25 a few times.

So, the snow event that just happened is WEIRD; putting it in contemporary vernacular. Missoula usually has similar mild winter weather, as does Hamilton. For God’s sake DON’T TELL ANOTHER LIVING SOUL!

Becky is out finishing morning chores as I write this; she’s concerned about my over-taxing my heart (she’s an accountant and it is tax season, so over-taxing fits the season). We had strong winds last night that created small drifts, so we’ll once again be opening roads and trails today using the UTV.

This is a report from a man on the ground …not Google Earth, or a weather radar map. If this winter has a connection to any introduction of an Ice Age (small or large) we’ll likely confirm it by May 1st. I hope we get a viable haying season???

Robert my fears are that you are the observant herald most people choose to ignore …for now.

The post A report from a man on the ground appeared first on Ice Age Now.

via Ice Age Now


March 4, 2019 at 05:56PM

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