Clearing The Palouse, One Snow Drift At A Time

PALOUSE — A steady wind blowing out of the southwest clogged roads with snow drifts in Whitman County, shutting down roadways including Highway 272.

The Palouse only got about four inches of snow overnight but the wind was blowing all day long Wednesday, carrying snow from hundreds of acres of wheat fields and piling it up where the roadways cut through the hillsides.

That drifting snow kept plow crews very busy Wednesday; in fact Bill Auvil started his shift at 4 a.m after blowing snow shut down Highway 272 from Colfax to the Idaho state line.

“There was snow all the way across the road from here to Oaksdale … that’s about 30 to 40 miles just blowing, blowing you couldn’t see very far,” Bill said.

The drift busting equipment he’s using to clear the roads cuts through snow like a twin-bladed razor. Bill and his grader are helping to free people held hostage in their driveways overnight. Lee Bannister is one of those people, who missed a day of work to the snow drifts.

“I live between two hills on 272 and they can get 20 feet of snow up there,” Lee said. “The last time this happened a couple of weeks ago about every 20 minutes someone was getting stuck on that corner up there.”

Unfortunately it’s likely all of Bill’s work will be wiped clean when a new winter storm moves into our area later Wednesday night.