County reels from latest weather attack

by C.F. David

by C.F. David

The year 2006, went out with sound of a screaming blizzard which dumped up to two feet or more snow in the Western Panhandle.

The snow which delivered an estimated 2.30 inches of moisture began on Thursday and by Friday afternoon it was critical.

As The Boise City News goes to print crews struggle to reach individuals and families isolated near Kenton, buried under huge drifts.

Boise City was isolated having closed Highways 385, 287, 64, 56, 412 and 3.

Stranded travelers had to stay in their trucks and emergency housing was set up in local churches and the courthouse basement.

Boise City lost its electrical power at midnight Friday, and by mid-morning Saturday, much of the city was without water directly due to the loss of power.

(Tri-County Electric estimates that 22,000 of its customers .lost electrical power.)

Power was reinstated to Boise City at 10:15 Sunday night.

Full water pressure returned late Monday afternoon.

Many individuals melted snow for use in their bathrooms, and groceries were stored in nearby snow drifts to prevent or slow spoilage, for others snow was melted and boiled for drinking and making coffee.

By Sunday, Highways 64 and 3 East from Guymon were opened. The American Red Cross, the Highway patrol and a Baptist men's Group from Guymon brought hot meals for shut-ins and those stranded by the storm. Meals were first served at the Boise City Senior Citizens Building and headquarters was then moved to the Cimarron County Fairbuilding. Cots were erected for the weary to rest, and a situational HQ was established by Capt. Jordan of the OHP. By Monday, the Army National Guard was on scene, traveling from Enid .

“We served 4756 meals yesterday,” [Sunday] said Michael Pokorny, Deputy Director of The Cimarron Valley American Red Cross.

“We also provided shelter for 12 people,” he added.

Many of the meals served were to people bused to the shelter from local truck stops, and meals were also delivered to the Cimarron Memorial Hospital and Nursing Home and to the Cimarron County Jail.

“We have also began sending food to Keyes and Felt, ”Pokorny explained.

Pokorny said that he hoped the Boise City shelter and one being established at Felt would soon be receiving food to be prepared on site.

Boise City Mayor Craig Sanders said that the city had backups for the city water supplies but that they couldn't keep up with demand.

“Having the power back on has helped considerably.”

Sanders explained that Johnny and Tim Baird had to dig their way to a city well in order to re-establish the water supply.

Sanders, on Monday said that another immediate concern was the city's sewage system, that with the loss of power, the system's lift station couldn't work, and potential problems with freezing was a concern.

By Tuesday, the National Guard, OHP, Cimarron county Sheriff's Office, the Boise City Police Department and road clearing equipment from Dalhart and Stratford , Texas , Clayton , N.M. , Texhoma, and Guymon were working to open roads.

Drama played out of the airwaves as anyone with a scanner listened in as peace officers, county employees and EMTs struggled to dig their way to a critically ill patient in Kenton; upon her removal from her home she was transferred to Union County Memorial Hospital by Cimarron County Ambulance.