The Weed That’s an Additional Blizzard Hazard
One challenge we have when it comes to high winds is tumbleweed. It’s evolved to roll and spread seeds, which is why it detaches and takes off when you have a gust. They don’t see this back east.
Between the plastic bags, dust, and snow blowing across the landscape, tumbleweed pose a very unique regional problem. A friend in Rupert is married to a man who repairs cars. He gets a great deal of business after windstorms, often repairing radiators. Pieces of the weeds can pierce the coolant system when we’re driving. I almost had this happen a few years ago. Driving with a friend to Gooding County, we encountered herds of bushes rolling down the Interstate.
When we got to our stop, I had a big piece of tumbleweed lodged in my grill. We had slowed down to 50 on the highway and followed a tractor-trailer as a shield. It wasn’t a foolproof plan.
One hazard posed is to traffic. Another is posed to homes and barns. The weeds can pile up as high as a roof and are very flammable. You can clear them away and then within minutes, you can have more.
I’ve written before that tumbleweed isn’t a native species. Seeds arrived in a shipment from the Russian steppe back in the late 1800s and started blowing across the Dakotas, making its way west. Scientists fear it may force a lot of native grasses off the land. Cattle can feed on the weeds, but it’s not their best possible diet.
Jeffrey Epstein's Cabin in Northern Michigan
Gallery Credit: George McIntyre