Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Big White Flooded

The Big White River is the river that borders my ranch and every year we steadily loose 5 to 10 to 15 feet of the river bank near the house. It's getting to be VERY NEAR the barns. The National Geographic proclaims this river as the crookedest river in the entire United States.

This year, she reared her ugly side and showed everyone what she was capable of. It all started last week really. The area got a heavy rain...2 to 3 inches. Normally, not a bad thing in these parts, but the ground is still frozen so rather than soak in, it all ran off...filling dams and the river. Again, normally not a problem, but the ice had not yet gone out of the river and all of this moisture wreaked havoc with the ice flow. As the ice broke up, it also jammed up on a curve and this is the result...


Above picture is ice chunks deposited in a field. The trees in the background are where the river bed is. It's a good 1/2 mile to those trees. The white ice chunks on the left are almost 2 feet thick. The brown ice chunk in the middle is 3 foot thick.


The picture below is along Highway 83. I am parked on a gravel road that is a little over a 1/4 mile away from the river(the tree line is the river). This entire field is littered with massive ice chunks. And this is the west side of Highway 83... This is a field and that is not the river at the front of the picture...this has all been washed away from the massive flooding. This new "channel" is no less than 20 feet deep. The small group of trees toward the top and left side of the picture is where someone's house stood. The ice took it out. The tree line on the right side of the picture is the river border and all of that white looking stuff is ice flow. Yep, there was another ice jam moving down the river while we watched. They had no idea which way it would go...follow the original river bed or come straight across this field and the new channels that had been cut.

I panned left of the picture above and this is the rest of the flooded field. Two more houses were flooded and a midnight rescue of 4 horses had to be executed by floodlight and with a pontoon boat. They got the horses out minutes before the ice jam hit the corrals... No one has ever seen the river do this much damage at one time. She is usually a slow eroder, not a massive flooder. Just a really weird weather combination that proved we will never control Mother Nature. This channel that has been cut is only one of two or three that were cut out. I have never seen anything like it.


We are lucky, this is below our ranch, so we haven't sufferered any damage. But they reported two more ice jams above our place that they are closely monitoring. One is moving, the other isn't. I hope they get broke up before they get near our place. We are on the high side, but still...


Interesting note...some of those ice chunks are 20 to 30 feet across and 3 feet thick...not counting the ones that have stacked on top of each other...

Mom and I figured they wouldn't be completely melted until at least the end of June. Crazy stuff!!

**Any of the pictures will enlarge if you click on them. I just couldn't get any one picture to capture the magnitude of the devestation.

23 comments:

Stephanie said...

Wow second to last picture is almost haunting - with the mud, the trailers in the background. That one is a keeper for sure. Well done.

So does the damage done this year put your place at risk for next year?

SunnySD said...

Yikes! Rivers are great to have close by, but then there's this kind of thing to remind us all just how powerful the forces of nature are. Those ice chunks are seriously scary.

Hope you guys weather the remaining ice jams okay. And so glad to hear that rescuers were able to get the horses out in time.

I think I've ridden across the White (farther south, though) - isn't it almost non-existent some of the year?

Flying Lily said...

This is horrifying. The land is so flat it almost looks like the river can do whatever it wants - and those ice chunks are nightmarish. Hope you are all safe.

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

No Stephanie-this one won't affect us. But we have a creek that runs behind our house that feeds into the Big White, that is really starting to change and will eventually(probably not in my lifetime, but definitely in my daughter's) take our barns and corrals. My dad had some engineers out to look at it, but they say the only way to stop or slow the erosion is by bringing in hundreds of loads of large rock to line the bank with. Economically and physically impossible to achieve. It's sad, but eventually we will have to move the location of our ranch headquarters. I'm sure that is not something my great-grandfather ever dreamed would happen when he put his trading post there in the 1860's.

Sunny-LOL, yes most of the time the river is just a big sandy river bed. The catfishing is awesome in the springtime though.;)

C-ingspots said...

I'm glad to hear that they got the horses out and that so far no one has been hurt. That would be terrifying. I can't imagine devastation like that so near people's homes. Not long ago we visited the Mt. St. Helen's blast zone and witnessed the destruction that still remains 25 years later and it is mind numbing. There is no stopping mother nature and especially rivers. Hopefully those families have some flood insurance, it looks like they might need it. Hope all ends well and people and animals stay safe.

Mrs Mom said...

Dude... I saw flooding similar to that once, and worked with the FD rescue crews to do mop up and evacuations. Not something I wish to ever see again in all honesty.

Glad they got the horses out in time.

Will keep fingers crossed that all STAYS safe at HQ there for you!!!

ezra_pandora said...

Holy crap!!! Send them to antartica to help with the global warming issue. Isn't it usually rivers drying up rather than overflowing and doing all that damage? that's crazy. Can they go in there with something to cut apart the ice chunks blocking it up? I know with all our rain a week or so ago, there was a river/creek that the ice blocked and all these houses flooded too. I just wondered why they couldn't get in there with something (chain saws maybe?) and cut it up.

And man o day, aren't you getting sick of all this bashing on blogs going on? I was reading your )non-judgmental) comments on FHoTD and saw the lashings from a few and some support from a few, but it's EVERYWHERE where someone is "allowed" an opinion. I lurk, but I don't type because it seems pointless anymore. I'm here for some help and some entertainment. I give/get input when there's help, I just lurk for the entertainment. sheesh people can get hostile!

kdwhorses said...

Holy cow! Before I starting reading, I really thought we were looking at a cemetrary and all the headstones dishelved. Crazy, my goodness mother nature can be vicious!

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

Ezra-they have never figured out a way to break up the ice jams. Hmmmm...I wonder if they ever thought of hovering over them with a helocopter and dropping dynamite?? Whewww...that would be fun to watch-LOL.

Usually, I don't post on fugly anymore, but sometimes the direction some of those people go with their thoughts scares the crap out of me! I rather like the FuglyWenchOfTheDay blog. It started out as a "we hate fugly" thing, but I think the bones are there to create a beneficial blog(like Mugawumps) with a more positive spin on ways to help horses in need, transfer knowledge and just discuss ways to improve the equine community in general. Right now, there are too many people suffering personal devastation from this depressed economy to point fingers and call names. To help the horses, we have to help the people too.
At least I hope that is the direction that it goes. Once the "venting" gets over with??

ezra_pandora said...

Fun to watch and it would probably work for sure. You might have fish blown into your yard though!! lol

Yes, that's what I get tired of, the names. Everyone's an idiot, or moron or whatever new name they come up with instead of just saying yeah, you may think x, but I think y because of z. Ya know? It would be a little more productive. I think that you explained mugs pretty good when you responded to rogue. We who read get her (self proclaimed) crankyness and the reason we read is for the info and stories.

Stephanie said...

Hey there - good commenting on today's FHOTD - I was too traumatized by those pics to engage....KNEW I shouldn't looked....

At least towards the end I she saw your points and was willing to agree to disagree I think I saw some thought process going on there....some of those guys can't let it go at all, just completely mentally shut off - that nasty one, snaffles, is one of the worst she'll go back and forth for 2 weeks to get the last word in...

Kudos

Callie said...

Holy mackerals! That's a bit too close for comfort!

Trailboss said...

AMAZING pictures. The river looks almost angry. Mother Nature has shown her ugly side the past few weeks. This is another example of what can and will happen. I know what you mean about any one picture to capture the devestation. That is how I felt about the ice storm that our area suffered recently. It is very humbling.

Andrea said...

Holy Cow!! That is some serious ice chuncks!! That is crazy! I think it's so amazing how strong water is. I had no ides that the river would ice over that thick!! Craziness!!

cdncowgirl said...

OMG! I hope everyone (human & animal) was able to get out in time. Scary stuff.

As for FHOTD, I haven't even seen what's going on now. Truth be told I haven't seen alot on any blogs... trying to recover from te weekend! lol

Lil Mama said...

Wow. I am feeling a little bit bad about whining about hail.

Carroll Farm said...

that is just crazy! glad you are ok. hope you are staying safe...

Mikey said...

That's some crazy amounts of ice!! I've never seen anything like that before. Makes me want to build a house on a hill for sure. No telling where the water's going to go these days.
Glad everyone was safe!

Laura said...

Wow - that is wild! Ole Mother Nature is a force to be reckoned with. Glad you and yours are safe for now.

Danielle Michelle said...

Those pics gave me the chills. I"m so glad everything there is alright so far.

Good luck with the weather and keep us updated!

gtyyup said...

Those are amazing pics...so glad they got the horses out in time. Sounds like your place will be ok...this time...thank goodness. Mighty scary!!

Melanie said...

OMG!!! Those pictures are absolutely amazing!!!!! It's like chunks of ice fell out of the sky or something.

I am gald that your ranch is safe and sound, and feel for those who have lost their homes.

About that vaccine...I honestly have not done much research on it, and it came out right as I was going into school full time. Let me check into and get back with you. I will ask my nursing friends what the word at the clinic is about the vaccine as well. :)

Pony Girl said...

Whoa girl, that is insane! I can't imagine something forming like that, but I can imagine the damage they could cause from your pics (and their sheer size.) I hope they don't put any of your stock in harms way! Isn't mother nature just a little hellion sometimes?