October Blizzard

The Rancher and I are alive and doing good.

If you have seen weather reports you know that the Western South Dakota Prairie and the Black Hills got hit by a blizzard.  This has been referenced as the worst October storm western South Dakota has seen in recorded history.

Mid-last week the Weatherman was talking about the heart of the Black Hills getting a winter storm and 2-4″ of snow on the prairie.  J had a feeling.  Thursday morning we moved the cattle we have at home closer to the building site.  The cattle on summer grass were moved to protective areas.  Thursday night-Friday morning we got around .80″ of rain.  At 8:30 Friday morning the rain switched to snow. We lost electricity 11:00 am on Friday.

When we woke up Saturday it was still snowing and the wind still howling.  Late morn we lost our landline connection.  Around 1:00 Saturday afternoon the storm was out of here.  J and I headed out to take a look.  It’s hard to say how much snow we got.  We have snow drifts up to 10 feet deep and other places with grass or weeds poking through the snow.  We think it’s around a foot of snow.

Saturday afternoon we took care of the cattle at home.  J moved a little snow with the tractor and I shoveled a lot of snow.

Sunday J got the snowmobile started and checked cattle we have in a pasture south of our home place.  Cousin T checked cattle we have on summer grass that boarders him.  So far, we don’t think we have any major livestock loss.

Monday was the first day that we could get out.  Our township road was completely blocked with snow.  Between snow melting and neighbors needing to get out we got the road opened with tractors.  J and I are headed to check more cattle today.

The Ranch has a big generator.  We are able to water cattle, warm the house, cool the fridge and freezer, cook meals, shower and do a necessary load of laundry.  We run it first thing in the morning, over the noon hour and in the evening.  We are not lumping it, but will be glad when the electricity is restored.  The local Electric Company is reporting 1,600-2,000 broken electrical poles and has brought in crews from other co-ops and the National Guard to assist.

The News is reporting on the damages and livestock loss in the western part of the State.  We have heard that 5% of western South Dakota cattle have died.  Producers have reported herd losses of 20-90%.  It sounds like the hardest hit loss is around and south of Highway 212 and I-90.  We have heard neighbors with losses of 20-30 head.  Many are still looking for cattle that drifted.

The snow is melting fast with temps in the 50’s and they are calling for 60 today.  The Weatherman is  telling us rain is headed our way Thursday and Friday.  Monday there is a chance for a “wintry mix” of moisture.

The Rancher and I are blessed that most of our cattle are safe and so are we.  We are thankful for good neighbors and all the work that our local Electric Company is doing to restore power.  I will post pictures when I can.  I don’t have the capabilities to upload pictures  from my camera to my netbook. I have not figured out how to do links on this little thing either.  If you are interested in more reading about the blizzard look up KBHB Radio or The Rapid City Journal.

I will keep you posted on  our situation and reply to comments as I can.  Thank You for your thoughts, messages and prayers.

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14 Responses to October Blizzard

  1. Nancy says:

    Oh Robyn — I thought of my blog friends, including you, that might have been impacted by this horrible storm. I’m so glad you and J are safe and prepared for the worst. Also glad to hear you did not suffer much loss. Will keep you in my thoughts. xo

  2. cheri says:

    What a catastrophy! SO glad you guys and your animals are safe. Geez! We just sat here with our mouths on the ground watching all this unfold. So sad that so many people lost their livelihood. Be safe.

  3. Buttons says:

    Oh Robyn I like Nancy seen the news reports and wondered if you were in the middle of that. I am so happy you did not have any losses and so sorry about those who did I do understand that one. I am also happy you are and were prepared for the unprepared for. Good luck hope the check goes well. HUGS B

  4. Nancy says:

    I’m happy to hear you’re ok and not too much loss. I am so sorry to hear about all the cattle lost. I know it hurts. All I can say about all of that snow is BRRRRRR!!!!!!!! I don’t like cold! I like it to snow here at least once a year for the kids 🙂 We usually get a couple of good ones. And once in a while a major ice storm. But I could not live north. I admire all of the hard work you all do to “survive” up there. 🙂 My son, daughter in law and grandkids were leaving for the Eastern part of SD on Friday but thankfully put it off till Sat and made it ok. I asked my husband how is it that our son always manages to end up traveling in a major storm. Ice storms, blizzards, tornados. I think he must not listen to weather reports before planning. Or me. 😉

    • Robyn says:

      It was a crazy weekend weather wise. Sounds like the next few days are going to be a wild ride too. Rain and wind tonight and Friday with wintry stuff moving in Sunday night and Monday.

      I heard eastern South Dakota only got rain. Glad your family had a safe trip. My parents were planning to come visit last weekend. We were all bummed out that the weather didn’t cooperate.

  5. Kim says:

    I’m so glad to hear from you. I had been wondering how you and your cattle fared in this storm. I’m glad J’s rancher’s intuition was working overtime and you were as prepared as you could be for the storm. Blessings to you, Robyn, and to those who lost so much during the storms.

  6. Thanks for your gracious & informative update, Robyn.
    Wowzer. Really hate to hear about the livestock loss.
    I’m glad you guys were spared the worst of it, and keeping you and all those affected in our thoughts.

  7. Emily says:

    Glad you guys are safe and didn’t lose too much. My uncle is one of the guys that usually ends up traveling as a result of storms like this, hopefully you guys, and many others will be up and running again in little to no time.

  8. Lisa Harrington says:

    Hi Robyn

    Glad that you are ok. Last Thursday and Friday we just got rain and some thunderstorms, but everything was fine. It was odd weather. Scott teases me about always being aware of the weather and pretty good and predicting rain storms. I guess it’s one of the pecks of growing up on a farm–knowing and caring about the weather. Glad that all is well.

    I check in with your blog every week and really enjoy your pictures. Thanks for posting them.

    Take care.

  9. Anne Burkholder says:

    Praying for all of you—I am glad that you are OK.


  10. Emily Grace says:

    Thanks for writing and sharing.

  11. Beth P says:

    Oh Robyn, I am sorry I am so late getting over here to your blog and only to find there was such a horrible storm. Your posts remind me of what an awesome community small and small-ish farmers have. It is still remembered that your neighbor is important and indeed so is your community – something that I am afraid to say has been lost here in the east generations ago. Sad. I love reading your blog, yes even the hardships because you all are still connected to the earth and understand all the important things like respecting the planet! You rock girlfriend (I love saying that phrase) 😀
    Hugs from your blogging sister in New Hampshire,
    Beth P
    Be well and take care of yourselves out there!!! My prayers are with you all!

    • Robyn says:


      Your comment made my day! I don’t remember you commenting before. Keep it up. Thank you for your support and fellowship and I will be visiting your blog.

      We all have such busy lives. We have to run a bigger operation to make ends meet or the wives have to work in town. Each generation we loose the close knit community feeling too. I have to give kudos to The Rancher’s folks and those of our grandparent’s generation; they will not let coffee time slip. If we drive through the yard when we check cattle at the neighbors we are expected to take time for coffee and homemade pie. Keeps us young, connected and up on the “news.” In all reality, I think we can make time for that. Even if we have to tell ourselves that a task can be done tomorrow instead of today.

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