After he put the chains around the calf's feet, Eric Shelton paused a second to listen to the 40 mph wind beating on the tiny shed he and the cow were in.
Shelton said the ferocity of the blizzard frightened the first-time mom, who had to be tied to a post to keep her from moving as the calf was pulled from her.
Blizzard or not, the work of a farmer goes on.
“I was wet and covered in snow,” he said. “Other than that, not much was different. We got the calf up and standing, got her mom to get some warm milk in her. They are both doing well.”
Shelton operates his family's farm in Butler, a small town about 20 miles northwest of Clinton, where they received nearly a foot of snow Monday from the blizzard that hit the northwest part of the state hard, causing power outages and closing roadways for days.
Shelton said his farm has lost more than half of its livestock in the past couple of years because the drought has killed large amounts of grass needed for feed.
A new calf and a large amount of moisture on the same day — Shelton said he couldn't ask for much more.
“It's definitely a win-win,” he said. “We hope it's just the start.”
Farther north in Woodward, Chad Parks and fellow firefighter Jason Hill had just finished responding to a house fire call that turned out to be nothing more than a clogged chimney.
While driving back to the station in the driving snow, the 24-foot fire truck hit a particularly deep drift. The tires spun but the rig went nowhere.
“We may have been in a big truck, but we were stuck,” Parks said. “We tried digging it out, but there was no way. Another truck came and tried to use a winch to get us out, but they ended up getting stuck, too.”
In addition to the two trucks, an ambulance and three other vehicles were trapped on the road.
“It was a mess,” Parks said. “We just ended up sitting in the truck and watching the storm really pick up. The ambulance was only about 50 yards ahead of us with its lights on, but once the storm really started to pick up, you couldn't see it. It disappeared.”
Parks said they waited seven hours for help that never came. Meanwhile, they talked with the guys back at the fire station over the radio and advised them when the storm was waning.
After dark, they walked a few blocks back to the station, leaving their trucks submerged in snow.
“We were just kind of in shock because we never saw anything like this ever,” Parks said. “We caught quite a bit of crap from our fellow firefighters, asking where we had been and what took us so long.”
As the first snowflakes began falling Monday in Alva, Becky Burke was in a race with the storm to make it home.
She had been in Tulsa making final preparations for her wedding less than two weeks away and being fitted for her dress.
“I didn't really see anything until I got to Enid, then it started getting dark and windy,” she said. “When I got on the west side of Enid, I didn't see anyone while driving. It was creepy. I didn't know if I was driving into something really bad.”
Burke beat the storm home in time to get snowed in with her fiance, Brenen. The two rode out the storm with on-again-off-again electricity.
The 17 inches of snow hampered their wedding preparations.
“A lot of stuff is coming in the mail because we are so far away from civilization in Alva,” Burke said.
“It's been super stressful just because we are waiting on RSVPs and our wedding shoes and other little last-minute things. But I guess in the end, I'll be able to look back at everything and laugh — it's just snow after all.”