My heart aches every time I think about South Dakota and what those folks are going through right now... Half of me feels sick and nauseous, and the other half wants to simply sit down and have a good cry. It's moments like this where I mentally scream, "Why!? Why!? Why!?" It's not fair. I know, life's not fair. But this is like, unfairest of unfairs right about now (and yes, I just created those two words right here and now).
Are you wondering what I'm blabbering about? I wouldn't be surprised if you don't know. You probably won't see this on the news, because the media doesn't want to cover it (grumble, mutter, darkly threaten). Last week, South Dakota got a freak blizzard. In October. The storm went for a solid 48 hours, dumping 5 feet of snow, and spreading it all over the place with 60mph winds. It was totally unexpected, and lethal in its coming. You see, it's only October... The cattle were all still out on summer pasture, and were still slick coated with their warm weather coats. No fuzzy, insulated cows to be seen. The storm was too harsh and too cold for the cattle (and I've heard a lot of horses were lost too), and many of them perished.
As the days fall away, the head count of dead and dying is creeping up. When the storm first ended, there was a head count of over 20,000 cattle lost. A few days later the count went up to 60,000... Then 75,000... This morning it looks like we've finally hit the 100,000 mark. These cows froze to death, died from exhaustion trying to walk to shelter, Got buried by snow because they took shelter in gullies and creeks, got hung up in barbed wire fencing that they unwittingly walked into and then either bled to death or died from freezing temps while trying to get untangled from the dangerous, metal barbs... 100,000 cows. Even if we didn't hit that number; what if it had stopped at only 60,000 cattle lost? Try to imagine that many cows, folks. Imagine that was your livelihood. Your business. And it's gone. These people can't even file any sort or report or claim to the government because not only is there NOT a farm bill that will helps these ranchers out financially during this natural disaster, but even if there was, it would have been shut down during this odd moment with part of our government not being in working order.
There's a count of 6 people missing so far... I have yet to hear if this count is final or not; I pray it is.
Apparently round #2 of this storm is brewing as I type this; but no one knows yet how mild or fierce this one will blow through. A friend on the Keeping A Family Cow forum lives in SD and is trying to keep all of us forum members updated on what's going on over there.
If you want to read up more about South Dakota and this storm, I've got some links for y'all...
This one has pictures, to which I will warn that they are NOT pretty. So if you've got little kids, you might want to skim through first: October 2013 Snowstorm.
An article from The Blaze written yesterday.
More images, taken by the public and shared online (I haven't seen all the images yet, so I don't know if any are disturbing).
And lastly, a blog post from The South Dakota Cowgirl, which explains how devastating this storm has been for these people and their ranches.
Keep prayin' folks... Keep prayin'.