You may recall posts here earlier in the winter about the remarkable amount of snow that fell on my home in northeastern Montana. So far our seasonal total stands at 105 inches. Well, all that snow is starting to thaw, and as I wrote about last week in my Billings Gazette column, everybody in this rural valley is preparing in some way or another for a very sodden season.

So the other night my family and I finally did what we’ve discussed for weeks: we filled our quota of nearly 100 sandbags. I’ll circle back later on our experience–suffice it to say for now that bringing order to three tons of sand will tweak your back, harden your hands and bring new appreciation to the bag-holding capabilities of 1st and 4th graders.

So how bad will the flood be? It’s hard to say, but before it gets better, it’s going to get worse, at least according to the National Weather Service.