PLATTE COUNTY – Life goes on after the historic snowfall that dumped up to 44 inches of snow in some areas of Wyoming. In Cheyenne and Wheatland, the totals went over 30 inches and set records for both two-day and three-day snow falls.
The COVID that allowed only essential workers out last year had great practice to be essential again with a snowfall that trapped people in vehicles, confined many to their homes for days and had ranchers scrambling as to how to remove 20 tons of snow from between their homes and the livestock enclosures.
Businesses stepped up big time with both Safeway and Thrifty Foods plowing out and ensuring that those who did get plowed out would find food on the shelves.
The historic and epic storm was predicted to fall sometime Thursday evening, but it wandered. It ambled. It picked up steam and by the time Saturday morning came with still no snow on the ground in Platte County, many were sending memes and messages of ill will toward the meteorologists for sending out exaggerated reports.
The first flakes began falling in Platte County somewhere around 11:35 a.m. down in Chugwater and arrived in Wheatland and then up to Guernsey around noon. The opening act of snow was light and most of it was not sticking to the ground.
People turned the clocks back for daylight’s saving time and it was as if someone had opened Pandora’s Blizzard Box. By Sunday morning cars were buried as well as the streets they used to drive on. It wasn’t long before the I-25 corridor was closed from the Wyoming/Colorado border all the way to Casper.
And it also started sinking in that the meteorologists got it right.
“We did pretty good,” Thrifty Foods store manager Paula Hamilton said. “We were closed Sunday and then were able to open by 1 p.m. Monday. Platte County Asphalt came out and plowed and it was amazing for them to do that.”
Hamilton said that due to storm prognostications five days ahead of time, there was a rush on general groceries such as meat, dairy and pretty much all departments got hit pretty hard.
“Due to the storm, we encountered some problems as our truck was delayed,” Hamilton said. “Tuesday we should have gotten our truck, but the roads were all closed and they ended up staying in Lingle overnight. We did pretty good, though and kept the shelves pretty full. People were cleaning us out, but I think we survived. Our employees were amazing. Anyone who could walk in, came in to try and get the store open and running as soon as we could.”
People from the community came together with shovels and a heart to work and one by one people and businesses were plowed out by last weekend with some exceptions. And with the help of four days of sunshine and warmer weather.
The silver lining in the clouds, however being the much-needed moisture to the area that was released slowly into the ground.