November 16, 2022

Just My Opinion - by Mary Kilen

Sometimes We Forget How Good We Have It
I hate it when the weatherperson is right when they predict a winter storm. It is even more distressing when they start making those predictions for a “Colorado Low” nearly a week in advance. Through experience we have all learned what that means. We are either going to get nailed with a large amount of snow or it will miss us entirely. Rarely is the last a true option.
Last week when I left the school board meeting on Wednesday night, I was feeling true empathy for Superintendent Tim Holte. As the meeting wrapped up, he had said that winter weather season is never his favorite. He spends sleepless hours watching the weather as it does or does not move in, while trying to make a decision about whether or not to start late or cancel classes. There was also some discussion about the volleyball tournament on Thursday and if the weather would affect that. Also a true story, there was discussion about it seemed way too early to be worrying about taking storm days.
While I was at the meeting, I received a text from Amanda about how slippery things were already getting in Bismarck. They had started out with a freezing mist for hours.
All of that did not excite me about getting up on Thursday morning, but surprisingly there was not much happening here. I guess that shouldn’t have surprised me since we were outside of the bulls-eye for this particular storm and the weather people couldn’t seem to make up their minds if we were going to be in that 4” range for snow or a foot. The only thing they seemed really positive about was where the heaviest snow would fall.

Fast forward to the weekend. Bismarck/Mandan has received nearly two feet of snow in places and crews are working to clean up the streets. I know that they have a lot of miles of road to deal with so it should not surprise anyone that it takes them a long time to get all the streets cleared, even working twenty four hours a day.
However, on Saturday, Amanda sent me a screen shot of the road clearing map. They weren’t that far from her street, but unfortunately they were headed in the opposite direction next. On Sunday, they still hadn’t seen a plow on their street. That lead to some interesting experiences with people getting stuck in the street and neighbors helping each other out with shoveling and snow removal. I’m proud to say that my son-in-law Zach is one of those people. He helps out several of their older neighbors. I’m even prouder to say that our grandson Carter got into the spirit and was bundling up and helping shovel when he saw them out.
Monday morning I checked the road clearing map and they declared that Amanda’s neighborhood was in the “next” category. I have no idea when that means they will get there, but it did provide some hope.
All of that is leading up to my sometimes we forget. 
I realize that the Stanley City crews have many less miles to deal with, but they have more than their fair share for the amount of equipment they have. They are out there with their equipment as soon as is safely possible. They get the main and emergency routes cleared and move into the residential districts pretty darn quick.
I don’t know that I have ever gone more than a day or two into a storm before they have made at least one pass down all of the residential streets. It might take them a little longer to get them widened, but residents are able to move around pretty quickly.

So, the next time we get a storm and you’re sitting at home waiting for the plow to come by, just think it could be worse. Amanda was on day five since the start of the storm and still waiting. With 20 plus inches of snow and cold temperatures that were not allowing for much in the way of melting, it’s not as easy as just trying to plow through it. Ask any of the people, including poor Zach, who got stuck in their street.
Also, the next time we get a good storm and you see the city crews out there working at all hours of the day, thank them for their efforts and give them patience. They will get there and you will be able to move around. It might take some work to clear your sidewalks and your driveway. You might need some help from your neighbors or you might be the one helping out. Unfortunately, winter is here. I’ve seen predictions for colder than average and wetter than average months this winter. None of that sounds fun. I’m also a bit concerned about the old wives tale about fog and future precipitation in 90 days. The fog made for some pretty trees the last couple of days, but I’m not sure I’m excited about days of precipitation, especially since 90 days would be February! There’s not much chance that will be anything other than snow!