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Weedstorm buries Montana homes

Published March 29, 2007


BOZEMAN, Mont. - Montana residents are used to digging out from snowstorms, but residents of one neighborhood had to put a snowplow to different use: clearing mounds of tumbleweed from their driveways.

Strong wind blew the tumbleweed in on Tuesday, covering sheds, burying mailboxes and blocking a street and driveways. On Shooting Star Lane, residents had to use a snowplow and pitchforks to clear it out.

Cindy Bowker had to tunnel through the weeds to get to her car.

"It was up over the headlights," she said. "It was all the way up the steps and covered our front door."

A few residents blamed a nearby farm for the problem. Half the farm's crop went bad last year, and the weeds sprouted on about 80 acres, Bowker said.

The nonnative plants, also known as Russian thistle, can be pesky. They dry out after maturing, break off at ground level and then roll wherever the wind takes them, spreading their seeds in the process.

Across the street from Bowker, Hank and Jan Mueller's shed, camper and driveway were covered with tumbleweed.

"We've had blizzards up here, but this was not like anything we have ever seen," Jan Mueller said.

[Last modified March 29, 2007, 01:52:53]

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