Extreme Snow Days

Blizzard of early fall 2005

Blizzard of 2005

Blizzard of 2007

We are located on the high plains and usually only get around 14 inches of precipitation in a good year. A majority of this comes in the spring in the way of big snow events. It is not uncommon to get a foot of snow in April or even May when a Pacific front comes through. We have had trees lead out early and get completely weighted down by late snow breaking branches all over the ranch. Since there are several thousand trees on the ranch, this damage can be considerable. Old pines have been know to come crashing down as a result. Early fall snow (before the leaves have fallen) also have occurred with similar ill effects for the trees. Spring snow can kill young livestock and strand adult livestock away from water and feed. The vastness of the prairie, the cold temperatures and the high wind makes for a tough place to raise a calf.

The good effects of the precipitation are that the grass will grow, the ponds will be full and the melt of will bring the soil moisture up to a point that it is tillable. Most of the fence post holes are even dug when the soil is soft in the spring. The spring snow are a very necessary evil of life in this ranch.

Extreme Summer Bad Weather

When the weather warms up to the 70’s in the early summer, we move on to bigger weather events. Though we have nothing on tornado alley, we get some pretty big thunderstorms up here. Hail damage is our insurance companies biggest nightmare (right behind deer/car collisions). This beautiful thunderhead was at least 30 miles south of our homestead though they do manage to come right over us from time to time.

Cumulus mammalus clouds are in indication of severe weather about. These were directly overhead..

Some of these big thunderheads are pretty ominous.  The lightning, the high winds and the hail they produce can and have been destructive. We have experienced gust of 70 mph and had golf ball sized hail since we moved to the ranch 7 years ago.

This is not huge hail but it would give your car a bad day. Here is Callie Ray Williams holding up some good sized stone after they sat out in the sun for an hour. They were softball sized when they fell. We had to replace over 3000 square feet of metal roof but all ours cars were parked in our big barn.  Whew! If we see a storm coming, we put all over vehicles under roof in our large barn. No hail damage yet on any vehicles in 7 years though there have been some good storms.

When it is dry, the high winds can cause dust storm. The building being obscured by dust is only 100 feet away. This wind whipped out from a dry front coming in from the north. Very little warning preceded this dust storm. It would have been a bad thing to be out in. fortunately we were at the homestead not at a fossil site.