Did Snow Used to Fall in Montenegro's Summer Months?

By , 26 Mar 2018, 22:51 PM Lifestyle
"There's no more snows like before" "There's no more snows like before" foto: private archive

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In the mid-December 1887, the amount of snow cover was up to 10 meters!

Older Kolašin residents still do not agree that either July or August is the only month where snow doesn't fall in their city, reports Vijesti on March 26, 2018.

Some say that there were days when the hills of Bjelasica and Sinjajevina were snowy during both these months.

Today, they live from the snow in this town in the north, because when there is no snow at a ski resort in the winter, there are no tourists in hotels and apartments - and no one can be employed. 

Kolašin residents are no strangers to snowstorms, so they often joke when the metrological announcements are being a bit dramatic. 

It never surprises them even when, just like a few days ago, almost half a meter fell on the first day of spring.

Besides, they say, "we don't have snow as we did before." Still, they remember that there were years when superhuman efforts were needed to save lives and property from a storm.

Branislav Jeknić, a local chronicler, can also find his notes on the roughness of winter during the this and past centuries.

Then the snow was taking lives, but, he said, it motivated the solidarity and humanity of the locals and organized actions, which, from today's distance, can seem almost unbelievable.

In mid-December 1887, the amount of snow cover recorded was up to 10 meters, said Jenkić. 

"As we can find in the documents from that time, it was one of the worst winters ever. According to Sinjajevina and Bjelasica, the snow fell from 10 to 16 pedals (old measure for length). Authors of the records from that time described the horror of winter on Mount Sinjajevina and quoted old folk verses: 'The Old winks at Pećarac and Pećarac to the peak of Jablanovi. Hard for those to be among them."

"Starac, Pećarac and Jablanov peak are three peaks on Sinjajevina," explains Jeknić.

According to the data of the chroniclers of Kolašin history, the next winter was not any milder either.

That winter was remembered for two herdsmen in Sinjajevina who lost their lives trying to reach the cattle in the mountain from the village of Krnja Jela.

Their bodies were found at the end of January at only 150 meters from the first village house, and it's believed that they were wandering for days.

"After this event, to protect travelers from wandering and freezing in the snowy desert, Captain Luka I. Mijatovic set up four-meter-long stakes along the road connecting Drobnjaks with Kolašin, along with some other local roads. Great snowfall is also mentioned during the winter of 1893. They said, without proper gear, they could not get out of the house," Jeknić added.

The local residents of the village of Bukova Poljana, which was only three to four hours by foot from the city, headed for Kolašin and arrived on the fifth day.

That year many households were left without essential food products and firewood in houses with huge amount of snow.

"Many survived back then only thanks to the solidarity of those richer and better prepared for the winter. According to documents from that time, then the government ordered massive snow clearing on the country roads, as well as those to Podgorica and Andrijevica. In just two days, those roads were once again passable, which was a kind of undertaking, since the snow was cleaned manually."

The next winter was sharp and even took some lives.

In 1894, Jeknić reminded, around Christmas, the locals made significant efforts to attend the liturgy at the local church. It was recorded that, immediately after leaving the church, they jointly cleaned snow from the roofs of the most endangered houses in the city.

"That year the snow fell completely over Perović's house in Lipovo village, and two people were killed. Several members of this family and the neighbors pulled him out from the ruins alive. The house was buried by an avalanche that began, as the reporters say, three kilometers further in a place called Gradište. And for next years, similar records can be found, which tell us about the pain Kolašin residents had with snow and cold winters," says Jeknić.

In the newspaper headlines during the past century, the struggle of Kolašin people with snow storms in 1954 was also recorded. 

The snow then, as Ananije Simonović wrote in the local newspaper of that time called Kon, crashed the building of the Trading company, which was in the place of today's Municipality.

The excellent organization and solidarity of the locals did not fail even at that time, and the roofs of all buildings and houses were cleaned together. Ski couriers were also appointed, whose task was to maintain the connection of the city with locals from remote villages.

The ski-couriers delivered mail and repaired the telephone wires.

During the 50's and 60's of the last century, Rajko Vlahović was one of the skiers who was tasked to overcome snow storms in the most fragile parts of the municipality during the great storm.

"There was no other connection with the villages. The city was often cut off completely. We carried mail to Lijeva Rijeka and Mojkovac, but also helped, for example, post workers repair broken telephone wires. We also went to the villagers of remote villages. Sometimes it happened that we were constantly on the skis for several days. It was not necessary for anyone to order us to do it, simply, it was taken for granted. There were few of us because only skiers could help in those hard conditions. "Many came to clean the roads

Few people did in the 50s didn't offer to clean the snow on the streets around Kolašin. Workers, officials, youths, villagers of several villages all cleaned on the way to Mateševo.

From Morača, towards the city, this was done by the inhabitants of Rovci, Gornje and Donje Morače.

The snow was cleaned exclusively with shovels or wooden caskets (a wooden device pulled by horses).

These were set on Trešnjevik, Meteševo, Kolašin, and Trebaljevo. Manual road cleaning was organized in groups, and every member of the group, usually, had the task of clearing 10 meters of the road with a shovel. 

This article was translated from an article by Dragana Šćepanović on Vijesti.me: Did snow fell in August?

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