Sunday, August 17, 2014

North Dakota — Winter 2011

The worst storms in over twenty-five years lingered in their half-acre in the winter of 2010-2011.  The rainstorms of spring 2011 filled the lake to within twenty feet of the house.  Sump pumps worked 24/7 to pull out the ground water beneath their basement. During spring planting, behemoths of the fields, giant tractors, cultivators, and seeders with farmers in the cabs slid down into wind-rows, and sank four or five feet into the clay bottoms beneath the shallow topsoil.  No vehicles could pull them out.  Patience was the mantra of the day.
And then on May first the warmth disappeared and a gigantic storm rolled in off the Bay of Alaska dropping huge feet of snow on mountain tops and still had enough moisture when it met the warm uplifting Gulf of California stream of air to leave six feet of snow powered by winds up to ninety miles per hour on northwestern North Dakota.
There the northern plains sat in the middle of spring with no electricity.  The wet ground followed by the extreme wind conditions of the pulsating storm activity pulled the electricity poles loose from the clay-based soil like a seven year old pulling a loose front tooth.  The ground was so soggy that the huge electrical-line equipment, driven by the best electrical linemen in the industry, bogged as soon as they left the roadside. Seventy heavy duty repair vehicles lay stranded up to their knees in mud surrounded by puddles of water on which mallards delightedly ducked beneath the surface to feed and Canada geese trundled on the upper quarter of huge wheel-wells watching linemen attempt to repair what intrepid men could not reach.