I guess winter isn’t going to go without a fight.
We started the week out with a rain and snow mixture that turned to snow by Wednesday leaving several inches of the white stuff on the ground. Then we shifted to milder temperatures before jumping up to early summer temperatures. Lots of fluctuation between winter and spring . . . lots of unstable air . . . which seems to bring out the last trump card of winter—WIND! Lots of wind!
Old Man Winter is blowing off a whole lot of steam today . . . ranging from a steady 25 to 40 miles an hour wind with gusts between 50 and 70 miles an hour. This wind is making the storm in the Wizard of Oz look like a walk in the park on a blustery day. As hard as the wind has been blowing today it would only take a matter of minutes for Dorothy and Toto to get back to Kansas! It has been nasty.
Now it is true that the wind blows on a fairly consistent basis in Montana. Most Montanans are used to the wind blowing . . . but, this is not your typical daily wind. This is a hurricane on land. It has created quite a bit of havoc in the lives of everyone.
With the lack of moisture and high winds there is a perfect combination for fire. Because there is a high risk for fire, the area we live in has been in a “red flag” warning for nearly two days. A “red flag” warning is to serve as a reminder to those of us in it that the conditions are right for fires. It doesn’t take much more than a spark around here to get a fire going . . . and, with this wind it doesn’t take much to spread it. Twenty-six miles down the road in Red Lodge a fire broke out today closing the ski resort . . . last I heard they were still trying to battle it, but the wind was making that pretty difficult. Down the road going east about another 26 miles a fire broke out in the Columbus area. This one was threatening a subdivision, thus the people were removed from their homes. That fire is stilling going. Several other fires were reported. It seems as if the fire season has begun early this year, and it could be a long summer.
The dry conditions have also created a lot of dust. With the wind whipping dust around we have suddenly entered into a re-enactment of the Dust Bowl years. Visibility is none existent in some locations causing road closures. Interstate 90—a major thoroughfare through Montana—was closed down due to visibility issues between Columbus and Reed Point. Poor visibility also caused a major pile up on the same interstate highway between Columbus and Laurel. One person was killed in that accident. It is also the cause of an accident that one of my sons and his social provider were in. Luckily neither one of them were hurt, but her car took a beating as it was hit from behind because the other vehicle was driving way too fast for the conditions. Yep, Old Man Winter is getting in the last few jabs . . . and, it blows.
Old Man Winter is just being a bully now.
Having spent many years in western Nebraska, I thought I was used to the wind. Shoot, the wind used to be a big joke in Nebraska . . . but, this wind is no joke. This is serious stuff. A temper tantrum of the worse kind. I have witnessed birds walking because it is too windy to fly. Herds of tumbleweeds have been corralled by barbed wire fences creating some pretty unique art along the roads. Trash cans have moved on down the street. Trees have been dancing and swaying. And, when one stands outside it sounds like a freight train screaming by. Dust flies across the roads making it impossible to see. I had even had to put lead weights on our two wiener dogs to keep them from flying across the yard when they have to potty.
I do not know who the imbecile was who wrote that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb . . . Montana has some pretty vicious lambs! I don’t know what that writer was drinking or smoking, but apparently he or she was not from Montana . . . but it must have been some good stuff. Right now, we Montanans, could probably use a little of whatever it was that he or she was drinking or smoking.
Old Man Winter needs to give us a break. True, we did not get our usual snow or winter . . . back east got that. And, as much as we want to apologize to our neighbors to the east, we do appreciate the fact that Old Man Winter took it easy on us this year. I guess we were not thankful enough for the old guy and now we are paying for it. Dearly paying for it. The wind is blowing hard out of the north . . . someone told me that was because Wyoming sucked. I don’t know. I just want the wind to stop . . . concede that it has lost . . . and, allow Spring to take its rightful place in the seasons. Someone . . . please . . . offer Old Man Winter a little of whatever it was that that writer was drinking or smoking. Old Man Winter needs to mellow out. This wind really blows.