It’s Sunday, the day after Snowmageddon ’18, Jack Blizzard’s Last Tantrum (https://www.poetrylibrary.edu.au/poets/kelen-s-k/jack-blizzard-0070033), the Great April Blizzard. Tucked in our Little Town corner of South Dakota, our magic vortex protected us from the worst of it. We only got, oh, about 10”. Surrounding areas had white-out blizzard conditions and up to 18” of snow. In 24 hours.
Northern prairie people expect blizzards. When we hear it’s coming, we stock our larders (Friday was mayhem at Hy-Vee; amid cart races and elbow jabs, bread, milk, butter, peanut butter, and beer flew off the shelves), rinse out our woolies, fill bird feeders for the hapless migrators, start new knitting projects, set our mukluks by the back door. What made this blizzard unusual is that it happened mid-April, one day after a stretch of sunny 60+-degree weather. It had been lovely for long enough that people were foolishly raking flower beds (the iris and columbine are up), climbing into garage rafters to get out patio furniture, and swapping out storm windows for screens. Ah, that persistent prairie optimism…
|Pre-storm: even squirrels stock their larders.|
|SD rancher Bryce Teveldal snaps his brother on calf-rescue duty.|
Outside our little hamlet and our “pretty spring snow,” things got a little more dicey. Long stretches of I-29 and I-90 were closed due to 40-50 mph winds and ZERO visibility. Stuck drivers had to be plucked from cars that slid into ditches. People were quite literally snowed in their houses by drifts against doors and high as windows. Parked cars were buried. Cows were lost, frozen to death by driving wind and snow-ice, or had to be rescued by determined ranchers.
It’s mostly over now, a few flakes in the air, and the shoveling out commences. The forecast is for 40’s and 50’s by the end of this week, and our memories of Snowmageddon will, as they always do, quickly melt away.