The town of Wheatland experienced an historic snow fall for a two-day period. It was a crushing blow from Mother Nature that brought many Platte County towns, businesses and people to a standstill.
There were many horror stories that came forth from the devastation including people stranded on roadways, people snowed in without power for days and of course, being an agricultural area, the inability to get to the animals.
It could not have come at a worse time as calving had begun and the appropriately called “Snowmageddon 2021” brought the joy of little ones being birthed, but the agony of them dying from the elements.
Only when all the snow has melted from the forests and the fields will people find out just how much devastation was accomplished.
The Facebook community was lit up with messages and stories and thankyous. It chronicled the events from when that first snowflake fell in Wheatland to the road being closed at Chugwater and the extreme snow load that Guernsey experienced in the latter portions of the storm. The storm traveled up the I-25 corridor and for as many times as National Weather Service has overestimated storms to protect people, somewhere around Saturday morning with no snow on the ground and having been predicted for two days prior, people started wondering if it was all an exaggeration.
Within 24 hours, the county knew it was bad. Reports started coming in from first responders and emergency road crews. By Sunday afternoon some plows were even pulled off the roads due to extreme conditions.
They closed the interstate from Colorado all the way up to Casper. Looking at it from the bridges Sunday night, it resembled a large snowy field. You wouldn’t have guessed there was an infrastructure running below it.
Through it all, people were working. From those shoveling off hangar roofs out at the airport to checking on the elderly and shut-ins. Four wheelers with plows, front end loaders and heavy machinery loading dump trucks were up and down the main streets and Chairman of the Wheatland Airport Board said that main street looked like a heavy machinery exposition with machines plowing north and south, and the only sound was grinding motors, plows scraping pavement and the backup warning beeping that continued throughout three days.
School was canceled. On a week where the kids had off for spring break. “How lucky are we to have snow days on our spring break,” said no kid ever. Teams of workers from teenagers to the elderly were out in droves, helping neighbors shovel out almost like releasing those socked in from their prisons.
When someone was released, they became part of that great Platte County team that in turn paid it forward as a brigade with shovels in the back seats of their vehicles. Neighbors were making store runs for those still under the ton of snow and ice. County and city plows were working effortless without breaks to break out those trapped.
Within a week, most of the history was plowed away, but the memories will remain of being a lone shoveler on the front steps of the house, looking up and seeing people coming from every direction with shovels in their hands and stories to tell.
Nobody “hibernated” – but most everyone that could get out, did get out and helped in the rescue attempts. And it didn’t matter if you were a Hatfield or McCoy; a conservative or a liberal; a Guernsey Viking or a Wheatland Bulldog. People heard the cries for help and went forth to make a difference.
Looking around, it provided us yet with another reason to say we live in the best towns in America and we live with the best people.
Snowmageddon 2021 came and we beat it back with shovels and plows. With laughter and tears. With unselfish caring. We beat it Platte County. Well done.