OFFICIAL WEATHER SERVICE ADVICE:
SNOW...HEAVY AT TIMES...WILL CONTINUE TO FALL OVER THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN FRONT AND THE ADJACENT PLAINS THROUGH WEDNESDAY NIGHT. BY THURSDAY MORNING...EXPECT STORM TOTAL SNOWFALL AMOUNTS OF 15 TO 20 INCHES OVER THE PLAINS...AND 2 TO 3 FEET IN THE MOUNTAINS.
CURRENT FORECAST MODELS INDICATE THAT VERY HEAVY SNOW WILL OCCUR THIS AFTERNOON THROUGH TONIGHT...WHEN SNOWFALL RATES COULD APPROACH 2 INCHES PER HOUR. SNOWFALL...COMBINED WITH NORTH WINDS OF 15 TO 25 MPH WITH GUSTS TO 40 MPH...WILL CREATE BLIZZARD CONDITIONS AT TIMES...WITH VISIBILITIES REDUCED TO LESS THAN ONE QUARTER OF A MILE AT TIMES.
THE SNOW IS EXPECTED TO BE HEAVY AND WET...CAUSING WIDESPREAD AND SIGNIFICANT IMPACTS TO LIVESTOCK...TRAVEL...POWER TRANSMISSION...AND ALL OTHER OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES. EXTRA PRECAUTIONS SHOULD BE TAKEN FOR THIS STORM...ESPECIALLY FROM THIS AFTERNOON THROUGH TONIGHT.
A BLIZZARD WARNING MEANS SEVERE WINTER WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. FALLING AND BLOWING SNOW WITH STRONG WINDS AND POOR VISIBILITIES ARE LIKELY. THIS WILL LEAD TO WHITEOUT CONDITIONS...MAKING TRAVEL EXTREMELY DANGEROUS. DO NOT TRAVEL. IF YOU MUST...HAVE A WINTER SURVIVAL KIT WITH YOU...INCLUDING AN EXTRA FLASHLIGHT...FOOD...AND WATER. IF YOU GET STRANDED...STAY WITH YOUR VEHICLE.
For the past few weeks I’ve been trotting over to Pansy’s house every morning to see how she’s getting along. She has cancer and is quietly fading away, getting a little smaller every day. She’s very brave and supported by hospice which sends a nurse, a bath-er, or a social worker just about every day. Her meds come mostly in a little scotch-tape squares she sticks to herself.
Yesterday I waded through the snow to retrieve the shovel I’d hung up in the back garage and dug a path for the cats across my yard, then went over to Pansy’s and dug a “nurse path” across her yard. The snow was six to eight inches deep. Today it’s quite a bit deeper.
In the afternoon I took a nap, maybe too much of one since I had a hard time falling asleep last night. I’d been working my way through a pile of AIDS books of several kinds: one an overview of how to run a support group, one a young man’s coming-of-age story (he turned out to be neither gay nor to have AIDS), one his uncle’s book (a co-author of The Joy of Gay Sex among a long list of more distinguished books), a book of essays by a gay man who fell to his death while hiking before he could finish it. The books cost a penny each plus maybe four dollars each to mail. They are hard to assimilate because their world is so foreign. I mean, I think I’m understanding but then realize that I don’t have the right context. I’ll write reviews later. It does seem important to get a grip on such a major part of our population, particularly given the events since AIDS. But it keeps my head spinning on high.
Esp. now, given the other subject of almost hourly news releases, the swine/bird/human flu that killed dozens in Mexico City. This morning I woke up with a sore throat, aching. That was at 5AM. When I woke up again at 10AM, I was better. So was that flu symptoms or was that from shoveling paths or did I sleep with my mouth hanging open? I’ve signed up with the CDC for automated reports on the world status whenever word comes in. If I’m going to have plague, I want to have it on a planetary level! A strangely shared solitary experience.
If you don’t get emails from me later on, it won’t be because of flu -- but because the electric grid has come down. I wonder how that strip of 200 windmills just outside of town is getting along. If the road weren’t closed, I’d drive out to see what it looks like tonight with their traveling red lights zipping along the snowy prairie. Eerie enough on an ordinary night, reflections on snow must be remarkable.
The newspaper came -- just a few hours late. Probably had to wait until the plows got out. In a bit I’ll bundle up and go for the mail, not because I expect a letter but because there should be two movies in it. The wind is blowing hard. Luckily it’s in my face when I walk the two blocks to the post office and at my back when I return, but my really warm hat and muffler are stored back in the shed. Silly me! I thought it was Spring and forgot what that means here -- or can mean.
This is not a usual Spring. My Calgary friend asked, “Do you think this is the end of the drought?” It sure is this week. Authorities are worrying about reservoir capacity when all this runs off the mountains. Lake Francis just thawed out. A strong wind finally did the job, piling up slush on the bank.
Cough. Is that bronchitis? I can be sure that it’s not AIDS, though I’m notorious for “catching” every disease I hear about in much detail. I have a strong impulse to order lots of books over the internet, but am squeezing every nickel to pay my county taxes. Money. Symptom or disease?
A little kit for fixing my printer came in the mail yesterday and I used a tiny hypodermic to drip solvent where it ought to do some good. If it worked, I can concentrate on print-outs today. Barrus produces so much more print than I am that I lose track of the posts in the computer. I want them on pages so I can put them in chapter piles on my long work table. Old-fashioned.
Should I subscribe to Twitter? Why let swine flu be the only momentary posts I get? Should I switch to the local radio station and give up my Billings NPR feed for the day so I can hear what the sheriff says about cars in the ditch? Should I take aspirin? Should I hunt up the new thermometer I finally bought since usually the only one I can find is for the cats? (It has a loop on the end where you tie a string in case you use it on a big dog and it disappears inside.) I don’t feel feverish.
The blizzard advice (if your car gets stuck...) has one omission. Lots of books. And paper in case you think of something brilliant to write. A clipboard. It’s hard to write in a pickup without a clipboard.