"Last winter sucked!" That's what Yvonne Smith has to say about what some called "Snowpocalypse 2017." Smith and her co-workers are doing their jobs in a temporary store, it's narrow isles over-stuffed with inventory.
In mid-January, with two feet of snow already blanketing Weiser, an additional sixteen inches quickly pile up on the roof of the small town's only grocery store, and the building started making noises. "It was quiet. We didn't have any customers. And then we heard the roof starting to pop, and Shane came down and said 'I think we all need to go home' so we left."
And it was a good thing she and the others did go home, because a few hours later a massive section of the roof came down under the weight of all of that snow.
Now, four months later the eerie reminders of that day are clearly visible from the street. Behind a chain-link fence, buckled steel beams still stand, and makeshift supports prevent remaining walls from falling. A few blocks away all that remains of the town's only bowling alley are the hardwood lanes, slowly weathering in an otherwise empty parking lot. On the outskirts of town, tons of onions have been hauled to the dump, and storage units that collapsed under the relentless snow are gone. Pastures near the Weiser River are reduced to debris fields after a flash flood of water and ice that sent police officers scrambling, and homeowners and their horses at the mercy of rescue crews.
And despite all the damage, FEMA refuses to offer financial support, leaving peopl like Yvonne Smith frustrated. In her off time she grapples with an insurance company that she says also refused to help. "We had this much ice in my horse pasture and the fences are gone, and insurance won't pay for it. It's happening all over the county. It's sad."