As a former reporter and editor at the Tribune, Diana French carries on sharing her ideas through her weekly column. (Photo submitted)

As a former reporter and editor at the Tribune, Diana French carries on sharing her ideas through her weekly column. (Photo submitted)

FRENCH CONNECTION: Remembering weather from years’ past

There was the snowfall in the early 1960s that paralyzed the Cariboo Chilcotin for days

Who can remember; 1) the last time we had so much snow all at once and, 2) when it ever snowed before at -27 C.

I remember some snowy times.

Once the snow was deep enough to make tunnels and my boys made them all over the place.

Another time it thawed then froze again making such a hard crust on the snow you could walk on it. The kids loved it but if the crust broke, the snow was so deep it was hard getting out of the hole.

Then there was the snowfall in the early 1960s that paralyzed the Cariboo Chilcotin for days. It snowed steadily all one weekend, heavy wet stuff that stopped everything and everybody in their tracks. The boys and I were snowed in for four days, many others longer than that. My husband Bob operated one of the two Chilcotin road crew’s graders. He and his swamper Willie Johnson were at Anahim Lake and when the snow began, they headed home, plowing snow as they went along.

They didn’t dare stop for long in case they couldn’t get going again, but it still took them four days to get to Alexis Creek. Their arrival was unexpected. Snow had knocked out the telephone lines so there had been no way to communicate and everyone thought they were stuck at Anahim. With the main road west more or less passable, they joined their buddies working long hours trying to clear the other roads.

How would we cope today with a snowfall like that? Road equipment is bigger and better now, but how would people react to being snowed in for days? Would some feel their rights were being violated? Blame the governments for not being prepared? Maybe we’ll find out this month when the weather is usually bad.

Diana French is a former Williams Lake Tribune editor and book author


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