Spring weather wreaks havoc on community

By Adam Jerome, I-O Reporter
Spring weather wreaks havoc on community
SHUT DOWN — When was the last time you saw a “Road Closed” sign leading to I-15 out of Conrad? Officially, a little over 10 inches snow fell in Conrad, smashing a record of 2.5 inches of the white stuff in 1999.
   The snow started falling on Monday night and didn’t let up until late Wednesday afternoon.  Conrad officially received 10.5 inches of snow, but those of us that were in the area, know it was a lot more than that.  Some people had drifts close to six feet high, preventing them from even leaving their house.
   By Tuesday morning road crews were having trouble plowing the snow.  As fast as they plowed, the snow accumulated even faster.  
   The people of Conrad had not seen snow fall like this in April possibly ever.  Prior to the storm the record amount of snowfall for the month was a pedestrian 2.5 inches.  This storm smashed the record, like Cal Ripken Jr. obliterated Lou Gehrig’s consecutive games played record.
   On Wednesday the conditions grew worse as nearly the entire city shut down.  The city office was closed and the post office couldn’t live up to their motto, “Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”  I guess they should have added, except for Montana in April to that famous creed.
   The schools all over the area had to call a snow day, not once but twice.  Former CHS Principal Paul Stenerson commented, “In all my years I don’t remember the schools ever cancelling a full day like they did last week, let alone two.”  On Thursday the schools could have opened, but too many teachers that live out of town were unable to make it out of their own driveways, let alone drive to town.  
   Superintendent Lynn Utterback commented, “Thursday was mainly a clean-up day for the schools.  We had a leak in the automotive shop at the high school that had to be taken care of and lots of snow to plow.”  The construction of the new gym was slowed a little bit, but the steel workers were able to work inside during most of the storm.  
   Utterback also added, “As of today there are still some stops on the bus routes that are closed thanks to the muddy conditions of the roads.”
   The students in the Conrad district will be happy to know that because the school days are a little longer than needed they will not have to make up the days lost.
   Even the I-O suffered the wrath of the weather.  I-O Editor Buck Traxler noted, “This was the first time the I-O was closed due to weather in the 24 years I have been here.”  On a positive note the paper did come out on time, since the official publication day is Thursday.
   As difficult as the storm was on the city residents, the community members living outside the city limits had it even worse.  Most of the “country folks” were stuck in their houses until snow plows were able to dig them out on Thursday afternoon.
   Some ranchers were hit the hardest as reports of livestock that perished during the storm are being reported.
   As for the farmers, it is hard to think that moisture might not be a good thing, but the weather caused a lot of them to halt their seeding operations.  Some may not be able to restart for a couple of weeks, and as Mark Bergstrom, informed the  I-O, “There are parts of the farm that we may not be able to seed at all this year, due to standing water.”
   All in all, it was a great test of our city and county employees, who helped numerous members of the community with their continuous efforts throughout the storm.  Let’s just hope a test like this only comes around once every 20 years.