Welcome to Bismarck, the Blizzard Capital of the World. We have received 17 inches of snow since last evening, and it's not over yet. It is now the second snowiest winter on record in Bismarck since record keeping began. We need only a couple of more inches to top the record and I'm betting we will. It's not uncommon for us to have heavy, wet snows way into April. Since we are so close, I do hope we break the record. What's a couple more inches to us?
The mall, most businesses and offices are closed and the Interstate is shut down between Dickinson and Bismarck - again. The plows haven't even come down our street today. They are busy plowing the emergency snow routes. Do I sound like a broken record?
I know, I had promised not to write another post about snow this season. But really -- really --this is getting out of hand. Just 13 until Easter? You've got to be kidding. Somehow we are just not in the mood for cute bunnies and chicks and colored eggs. Ever tried to have an Easter egg hunt in a snow or water filled yard??
March is going out like a lion on crack. All of us here are sick to death of winter, sick to death, I tell you. We are going stark, raving crazy. We can't take it any more. Not even the poor snowmen and women can take it anymore.
As I heard a newscaster say today, We're ready to put Mother Nature on a flight to Vegas. She's not welcome here anymore.
Seriously though, this is bad news. There's about .85 inches of water in this snow. It may start to melt again as early as this weekend. If there is a rapid snow melt there will be a rapid runoff and again we will have to deal with flooding. It isn't just the Missouri and Red Rivers engulfing North Dakota. The Knife, the Cannonball, the Sheyenne, the Heart, the Souris, the Little Missouri - I could go on and on - will again go on the rampage.
The Double Ditch ice jam north of Bismarck is five miles long. The dikes and levees at Fargo-Moorhead are groaning under the stress and strain and may have to endure the pressure for WEEKS yet. Worse yet, roiling waves created by the blizzard's winds are washing against the fortifications. Rivers can have a second crest and the misery starts all over again. Bismarck residents have been warned not to remove their sandbag barriers yet.
There are such sad stories to tell. The cattle that are starving. The 70-ish couple in the Red River Valley who saved their farmyard with sandbags only to have their home burn down. The 99-year old nursing home resident who was so worried about her family's farm.
People have had to part with their "four-legged babies". Hundreds of pets have had to go to shelters and zoos. They include dogs, cats, guinea pigs, birds, rabbits, horses, a potbellied pig, a goat and a mule.
Hundreds of nursing home and assisted living residents have been evacuated to Bismarck and 10 were placed in the nursing home my sister, an RN, works at. Glori told me about this one elderly lady, terminally ill and in hospice care, who had to be flown here. "Here you are, at the end of your life, and all you're doing is just trying to die," my sister said, "and then you have to go through this." That just broke my heart.
So have scenes like the ones I've been witnessing: Cattle bunched together on a tiny, newly created island, cold, wet and miserable. Homeowners surveying their sodden, ruined belongings. Sandbaggers weeping with weariness. Rescue workers who have had only a couple of hours sleep each night for a week or more. The National Guard member who lost his own home.
So please forgive me if I use a little gallows humor today. That's what beleaguered and embattled people do.