NBC NEWS

Over 1,800 Dairy Cows Killed in Freak Blizzard in Washington State

A storm dropped an unexpected 18 to 24 inches of snow

A surprise blizzard in Washington State caused the death of more than 1,800 dairy cows across a little more than a dozen farms, leaving farmers to find a way to dispose of cattle that were a key source of their livelihood.

An arid region of the state, Yakima Valley is host to a number of dairy farms that use open lots for their cows, meaning their buildings are without walls, NBC News reported. That’s typically not a problem because the area only gets 6 to 8 inches of rain per year.

But on Saturday farmers said that a storm forecast to bring 3 to 5 inches of snow, already a large snowfall by their standards, suddenly dropped 18 to 24 inches with winds of 40 to 50 mph and gusts of up to 80 mph.

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