Wind and snow in Nebraska |

Wind and snow in Nebraska

Winds whistle while the cows and horses turn their backs to the wind, silent as snow statues. Some seek shelter in windbreaks or stands of trees. Men folk bundle up to go out in the biting snow and bitter cold. They will haul hay to the livestock and break ice on tanks and creeks until the temperature warms. Their breath freezes in this weather, whitening their eyebrows and nostrils, and often times eyelashes, beards and fingers with frost. They carry on living by a country code which requires they look after their animal’s needs before considering their own.

First snow flakes fell early indicating snow we will surely measure in drifts and days rather than inches. Initially flakes were dainty but by sundown they muscled-up, growing in strength and size as the winter sun disappeared and the night and temperatures fell. Snow continues to fall and blow into swirling drifts around my garage and house.

Today the snow is falling and drifting. I hear the wind rising, and my chime indicates there may be a nasty day of closed roads and icy white-out conditions. Our wild winds are famous for chewing flags to shreds and spitting out bites miles away down wind. Drive back roads and you’ll find colorful calculating carcasses of tumbleweeds and cattails caught in barbed wire fences.

Since I have no plans, I am not disappointed over travel restrictions. I am more concerned over young people who think they are indestructible and can drive anywhere on any icy roads. A gravel road may be safer but there will surely be drifts over by the corners and deep cuts.

Blizzards arriving hours before the new year, brings reminders of blizzards years ago like the ’49er. It whistled in with lots of heavy blowing snow. The wind-chill drop causes animals to come closer to a shelter belt of protective buildings or trees. My dad prepared quickly by bringing his cattle closer home. Then he buckled down for long blizzard days at home around the warm fire. We children carried in arms full of cut wood he split and loaded into our arms.

This snow isn’t predicted to be a big blizzard but one to respect and watch out for. My windows aren’t plastered shut yet. Drifts are growing by the hour but thus far, still manageable. Gusting wind-chill at -20 is too cold to venture out in by my calculations. I hesitate to believe weather predictions exactly, but hopefully they are accurate in saying next week’s temperatures will climb. That would be much better than what we have outside today.

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