The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By Georgie Kulczyk
The Courier 

School Closure History Lesson

 

March 14, 2018



School closures are few and far between in Northeast Montana, even with the severe weather that is typical for the region.

Following the recent weather event that was reported on in the Courier (It’s Snow Joke, March 7), one of the most asked questions was, “When was the last time schools closed in Glasgow?”

While school administrators were unable to answer the question, a few Courier readers pointed us in the right direction.

Prior to the cancellation of classes on March 5, the last known school closure in Glasgow was in February of 1978. February 7 and 8, to be exact.

According to an article published in The Glasgow Courier on Feb. 9, 1978, weather was the reason for the temporary closure of “all county schools, county offices and some downtown Glasgow businesses and offices” on Feb. 7.

Although a layer of snow contributed to the severe weather, strong winds were the biggest factor in shutting down the region.

According to Victor Proton of the National Weather Service in Glasgow, snow began to fall on the sixth of February with 1.3 inches recorded for the day. Data shows that there was already an existing nine inches of snow on the ground, and the average snow depth was 13 inches.

In the following days, an additional 2.6 inches of snow fell. The seventh was the day that wreaked havoc, however, as winds up to 45 mph were recorded in Glasgow, and up to 60 mph in the north country. Temperatures reached a high of 12 degrees, which translated to a chill factor of -36 degrees.

Visibility was reported at “about zero” throughout the county and nine-foot high drifts formed. Lee Palin of the country road department stated, “Some deep drifts straddle county roads for as long as 40 feet.”

People in the region were reportedly unable to leave their homes, with some resorting to crawling out through windows.

The communities of Hinsdale, Nashua, Fort Peck and Lustre were also affected by the severity of the storm, with ranchers in the Lustre area suffering the devastating loss of 150 pigs and up to 25 head of cattle. The livestock were literally smothered by snow and suffocated to death. “It’s the worst storm we’ve ever had,” said Mrs. Herb Sand who lived 31 miles north of Glasgow.

Highways 24 and 247 were closed Tuesday and Wednesday, and despite a recommendation for people to stay off of highway 2, traffic was moving – with several outfits getting stuck in drifts about four miles west of town.

The district 3-C Basketball Tournament that was to be held in Glasgow was postponed, and all planes were grounded. Schools also remained closed Wednesday.

To help alleviate the already expended cost of snow removal in the county, commissioners approved a resolution declaring disaster status for Valley County, with authorization to use a two-mill emergency levy. The levy amounted to approximately $29,000.

Adding insult to injury for area residents, predicted flooding hit the area in April with the Milk River level peaking at 28.9 feet in Nashua.

 

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