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Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Ugly Side of a Beautiful Blizzard

Last week our family traveled to Lamar, Colorado for the wedding of a close friend.  When we left home, we knew there was a chance of snow, but we were not fully prepared for what we witnessed.  I think it is safe to say that few of us from Southeast Kansas thought the weather was going to be as bad as it turned out last Saturday.  Like I said, we were there for a wedding and the first pictures are a few I took before the wedding in Lamar.
After the wedding we headed to the reception in the small town of Two Buttes south of Lamar.  As we drove the snow got heavier and when we turned east it was evident that the snow was blowing and drifting.
We left the reception approximately 45 minutes before the state closed the roads for the night which left many of our friends including the bride and groom to spend the night in a WPA built building, with no electricity.  They actually spent almost 24 hours in the old high school gym before the roads were cleared.

My brother kindly overlaid a map and marked the site of the reception.  His thoughts were that you couldn't have picked a worse location for a reception during that storm.
We have had fun telling the stories of people sleeping with a tablecloth for a blanket and telling stories of how much alcohol it took to keep them all warm and happy and bragging that they had a 24 hour wedding reception, but there is a heartbreaking side to the story. 

We saw cows huddled next to the south fences all along the road to Two Buttes.  They had walked away from the storm until they hit the fence.  Some of our non-farm friends even commented about them.  My farmer said, "They won't leave that spot all night.  They won't walk into that wind."  Little did we know at the time that some of those cows probably would never leave that spot alive.  The snow was so wet and heavy that it buried cows and calves alive and/or suffocated them.  They were also wet from rain that fell until the wind turned cold and the snow began to fall.
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A special thanks to Sheri Scimeca Thompson of Sharp Shots by Sheri for allowing me
to share some of the overnight photos.

It was a beautiful snow, but the wind was harsh and the storm's aftermath is nothing short of ugly.  If you know someone who lives in the Two Buttes, Springfield, or Walsh and are missing cattle please let them know about the Facebook page where you can list missing cattle and their brands or found cattle are also listed.  I am hearing stories of cattle who walked over snow drifts over fences and were found as far away as 10 miles!
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The cattle killed and lost is only one side of the losses due to the storm.  I will share more as I gather more information. Here is more information from a local news station on the devastation.

Here are some more pictures sent to me from Lalane McClure of Hugoton, KS.

P.S. This isn't the post I had planned for this week, but it is the story that needs to be told and from what my friends are telling me it is another story in the heartland that the National Media is ignoring.

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