Winter Weather Work

Winter Weather Work

If you’re from the Hi-Line area of North Dakota, Montana, Northern Idaho, and Northeastern Washington, you know that you can get some pretty extreme winter weather.  Extreme weather is pretty common in North Dakota and Montana, but Northeastern Washington can, and has, set some weather records.

I remember one winter in North Dakota we had a lot of snow and hard winds.  It blocked the railroad track.  We had no mail for a week.  Even with big rotary plows it took a week to clear the railroad tracks for about 100 miles.  In my eighty some years, it was the worst storm I have ever seen.

In Montana we lived and worked along the Hi-line.  The Hi-line is an area along Highway two that runs parallel to the Canadian border.  One job we did in the winter there involved wiring a new motel.  The weather turned cold – about 20 below zero.  No windows or doors had been installed and, of course, there was no heat.  It didn’t stop us.  You learn to adapt to the weather.

Contrary to expectations, many people along the Hi-line would go to Canada for vacations.  One winter I was working for a small shop with three electricians, including me.  One weekend the other two decided they were going to Canada for the weekend.  They didn’t return on Monday.

They called the boss and said they couldn’t get out because of the snow.  I was running crazy trying to keep up with the work by myself.  Every day the boss would get a call from them saying they were still snowed in.  Finally they showed up on Friday.  Everyone worked hard for a week to catch up.

Finally I had the opportunity to talk to one of the guys, and I inquired if there had been a hard storm up there.  I asked; “Did they have to get out the big plows?”

“No” he replied.  “Not that bad.  But across the front of the bar door there was a drift about 18 inches deep and we just couldn’t seem to get through it.”