Havre Daily News - News you can use

By Pam Burke 

View from the North 40: What are you talking about, Weather Channel?


As much as I am totally into dramatics, I do not think my adopted hometown of Havre deserved to be labeled as the worst city in the whole United States of America this winter.

Yeah, I get it, our weather has sucked this year, truly, I’ve lived through it, but the worst, as in THE worst is a stretch —by hundreds of miles.

I think it’s an ill-disguised attempt by those Weather Channel people to get more mileage out of the video they shot last year of the aftermath of the Oct. 2-3 snowstorm — the storm that dropped 13 inches of heavy wet snow in the river valley and left 8-foot drifts out in the Bear Paws as well as downed trees, limbs and power lines across the area with some people being without power for more than a week. Yes, that storm.

Which sounds really bad, of course, but except for a few parks that are still shut down because of potential falling tree danger, it was, like, just a few messy, expensive weeks in October.

Sure we also have near-record snowfall this year, but it’s not like all 7-ish feet of the snow is still sitting out in our yards.

I, for one, had flooding already so a considerable portion of my snow was consumed by rushing waters, and the silt left in its place isn’t nearly as deep. Yes, the silt is dirtier than snow and doesn’t evaporate after we drag it into the house on our shoes and paws, but I can see over it even when I’m standing in the ruts and holes the water eroded into my roads, yard and pasture.

It’s not like we’re Babb or Browning or Heart Butte, places where whole neighborhoods were buried to the eves in snow and probably millions of dollars were spent on snow removal to keep the highways and main routes open. People went many weeks without power in these areas.

And while I’m on the subject of those Rocky Mountain Front towns, I want to point out my main beef with that Weather Channel article: Havre got blamed for a lot of miserable wintry misery that had nothing to do with us and our misery.

The writer included in Havre’s awful winter the five blizzard warnings in “nearby Great Falls,” as if the city 110 miles away is a quaint Havre suburb. Then the author casually throws in a statement about how the awful storming on the Rocky Mountain Front isolated the towns of Babb, Heart Butte and Starr School, and Glacier National Park got 50 feet of snow — as if the writer was talking about what’s going on in my backyard.

This isn’t North Havre just across the river or even the Bear Paws he’s talking about.

Do these Weather Channel people not own maps? It’s the Weather Channel, you would think they would have maps and at least modest ability to read them. We have to drive something like 100 miles before we even see the tips of the Rockies, and they’re pretty big mountains.

It takes another 100 miles to get to Babb, and who knows how far I have to drive to find that 50 feet of snow in Glacier, especially when you factor in the time and miles I spend lost in the forest because those stupid trees and mountains block my view.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that these places aren’t wonderful. In the larger scheme of things, I fully claim them as sister communities in our great country of Montana, but don’t put their cruddy weather on Havre. I’m just saying, we got our own thing going here.

We have winter holding on trying to prove that it can beat its 138-year record for annual snowfall. We have that whole seventh-coldest-winter thing going for us. We have plenty to be proud of, but Worst Winter City ain’t one of them.

So, Weather Channel, keep your lousy, incorrect worst of the worst title to yourself. It doesn’t even come with a sash and a sparkly tiara, so who would want it anyway.


I’m planning on taking the whole summer off. That’s why I’ve been saving that week of vacation at [email protected]


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