City gets back to normal
By Robin Scott
Thursday’s snowstorm shut down Dalhart and surrounding areas for the second time in a year. Heavy snowfall throughout Dallam and Hartley Counties led to road closures and businesses soon followed. By Friday, most people were hunkered down in their homes, schools were closed, and the task of digging out of deep snowdrifts began.
Highway 54 West out of Dalhart and Highway 385 out of Channing remained closed and impassible on Saturday. The storm proved less hazardous than the blizzard that pummeled the area in late March 2009. The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) was able to close by Friday and emergency responders were not pulling hundreds of people out of stranded vehicles. The difference was due, in large part, to early road closures on Thursday which kept drivers from leaving others areas headed toward Dalhart, only to find themselves stuck in whiteout conditions last year.
Although the storm passed through the area, the high snowdrifts caused many headaches. Some residents painstakingly cleared sidewalks and driveways while many others planned for warmer weather to rid their yards of the snow. Several residents reported that they could not open their doors due to high drifts landing on the front porch. By noon on Saturday, temperatures finally crept to about 32 degrees, and hope for a meltdown was growing.
By Saturday, area residents were posting “snow ice cream” recipes on Facebook, proving that adversity does have a silver, or perhaps vanilla, lining. Other noteworthy items posted to Facebook were acts of heroism and stories of good Samaritans. Even the Dalhart Texan’s own Susan Clay got a welcomed hand from a few men willing to pull her SUV out of the snow where it was buried in front of the newspaper office.
Perhaps not so surprising was the delivery of the mail on Friday as temperatures plummeted well below freezing. The dangerous driving conditions were not over, however, as the high temperature of 42 degrees on Saturday quickly turned to a low of 14 degrees by nightfall. The moisture left by melting snow, left icy patches all over the area. An official with Central Dispatch at the Dallam/Hartley County Jail noted on Saturday, “The roads that are open are passable, but still not safe.” Residents were encouraged to continue to ride out the poor weather from home and drive only for essential reasons.
As the anticipated precipitation dropped from 80 percent to 10 percent, people in the Dallam and Hartley Counties began to conduct business to as close as usual as possible. And although the snow no longer falls, everyone is reminded to take it slow on the roadways as the threat for hazardous road conditions is not completely over so long as ice remains. Within the next few days the temperature will raise enough to melt the snow completely, and by Super Bowl Sunday, sunny clear skies with no precipitation will return to the area.