April Showers Bring May Flurries
Region experiences a snowy twist on springtime bloom.
Although it may be the month of May, Mother Nature has not gotten the hint that spring has arrived. Over the past two days, the county has been transformed back into winter weather. With downed power poles and several inches of snow, residents experienced the all too familiar feeling of cold and stormy Montana nights. Last December, citizens of the region were surprised by the unfamiliar sight of bare ground and warm temperatures at the beginning of the month. Then, just before Christmas, the county experienced a snowstorm. Following this snow, the weather remained relatively winter-like throughout the subsequent months. Noted particularly in early January, residents of the area experienced extreme subzero temperatures nearing -60°. Through the immense cold, numerous power outages were observed. On Tuesday, May 7th, in similarity to the January storms, the county received nearly a foot of snow. With the sudden change from warmer temperatures to a cold low of 20°, at least 36 power poles were reported as fallen. With over three miles of downed poles, a large portion of the county went without power for an extended period. While the majority in the near vicinity of White Sulphur Springs have restored power, those in the Monarch area will likely be without power until Friday, May 9. As reported by NorthWestern Energy, the main power company for the majority of the county, the warming temperatures allowed for the use of a helicopter today to patrol lines in the region. With a large portion of the damaged lines spanning the dense forest area near Monarch, tree crews are being utilized to clear fallen timber. The heavy wet snowfall, however, is slowing the progress of the restoration projects. Due to the amount of fallen poles, NorthWestern Energy has called in additional contract crews to aid in the repairs. Similar to the power outage and cold snap earlier this year, the Edith Hotel in White Sulphur Springs once again opened its doors to those affected by the major outages. The local hotel offered rooms for a discounted price of $50 for those experiencing a loss of power and heat, as well as a considerate stipulation that no individuals would be refused service based on their ability to pay. In the face of unexpected weather shifts and their consequent challenges, the residents of the county have again demonstrated resilience. The community's response, particularly the generosity of the Edith Hotel, exemplifies the solidarity and support that prevails during times of hardship. As NorthWestern Energy and additional crews work tirelessly to restore power, the spirit of cooperation and the hopeful anticipation of warmer days ahead keep the affected individuals steadfast. This recent weather event serves as a reminder of the unpredictable nature of climate and the importance of community preparedness and adaptability.