Wintery reminder of coming attraction

Alastair Baker
News Editor
Thursday, September 10, 2020
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One of the many trees damaged in Red Lodge by the snowstorm that came through the area Monday. Photo by Alastair Baker

From the sublime to the ridiculous is perhaps the only way to describe the weather at this time of year in Red Lodge and surrounding areas as people basked in 90-degree heat on Saturday only to then don boots, sweaters and jackets by Monday to clear off shovel loads of snow from paths and vehicles.
For several hours the sheer beauty of a ‘Marshmallow World’ was lost as the sky hemorrhaged away.
According to Ray Masters, Red Lodge Cooperative Weather Observer, a total of 10.5 inches of snow fell during the 12-hour onslaught.
“As of 5 p.m. yesterday, 3.5" fell.  Then overnight to this morning another 7" fell for the total of 10.5".  The average snowfall for the whole month of Sept. is 3.7",” said Masters. 
Records show 1" on Sept. 7 in 1941, and 15" on Sept. 8 in 1962.
The chaos that the storm brought with it resulted in heavy snows and over burdened trees bringing down power lines while other tress blocked roads or fell near vehicles.
According to Beartooth Electric Cooperative General Manager, Kevin Owens, “Outages were widespread throughout BEC's service territory in the last 24 hours. Line crews began work on Sunday around 1 p.m. and are continuing today to get the last few members back into service.”  
“Members served from the Luther and East Rosebud Substations were out of power over an extended period as a result of the NorthWestern transmission line serving these substations experienced an outage. Our line crews will not return home until the last member is back in service,” he said.
Mackenzie Alexander of Luther said she lost service on Labor Day. “We just moved to Luther. Most of us were out off and on for over 24 hours. The school was closed today.”
Brandy Powers, NorthWestern Energy spokesperson, said “NorthWestern Energy experienced outages throughout Montana following the inclement weather that moved across the state. The outages were caused by high winds and heavy, wet trees with leaves still on branches breaking into lines. We dispatched additional crews that worked to restore power as quickly as possible. Carbon County was one of the areas that was impacted with hundreds of customers out of power throughout Monday. NorthWestern Energy encourages customers to call and report any downed lines during and following a storm. Don’t assume someone else has already called, we want to hear from you. You can also contact us and monitor outages online at”
Owens added, “This could have possibly been much worse had we not started a very ambitious tree trimming program on a 5 year rotation throughout our service territory.”
For those needing to depose of debris from fallen trees or tree limbs the City’s burn pile is open at 2 Mile Bridge Road at the sewer ponds from 8 a.m. - 3 p.m. The burn pile is marked by orange candles. There is no curbside pickup.