Farmer saves life of frozen newborn calf trapped in blizzard conditions

By Amanda Schmidt, AccuWeather staff writer
February 11, 2019, 3:51:27 PM EST


Farmer Nick Cobb rescued several calves from blizzard conditions in Ephrata, Washington, on Saturday, Feb. 9. A heavy snowstorm slammed Washington state this past weekend, it was the biggest snowstorm to strike the Seattle area since February 2017.

The city of Ephrata is located in central Washington. The city received about 2 to 4 inches of snow from the storm on Saturday.

"Strong winds led to moderate to severe blowing and drifting snow with poor visibility and life-threatening conditions. AccuWeather Realfeel® Temperatures dropped to minus 10 F Saturday afternoon," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Bob Smerbeck said.

A blizzard warning was put in effect ahead of the storm in Ephrata. Therefore, Cobb, who runs C&C Farms with his family, started going out to the field every couple of hours to keep an eye on the cattle.

When Cobb drove out to check on his cattle, he found the herd huddled together, protecting themselves from the storm.

(Nick Cobb via Storyful)

Farmer Nick Cobb rescued several calves from blizzard conditions in Ephrata, Washington, on Saturday, Feb. 9.

(Nick Cobb via Storyful)

A winter storm blanketed much of Washington state over the weekend.

(Nick Cobb via Storyful)

Cobb drove out to check on his cattle and found the herd huddled together, protecting themselves from the storm.

(Nick Cobb via Storyful)

Cobb also found some newborn calves in trouble.

(Nick Cobb via Storyful)

Cobb said he pulled 15 calves, all one to three days old, inside his car, including one coated in snow and ice, according to Storyful.

(Nick Cobb via Storyful)

That calf was taken inside Cobb’s family home to be warmed up in a bath by Cobb’s daughter McKinley and wife Kelly.

(Nick Cobb via Storyful)

The calf was later nicknamed Oreo.

(Nick Cobb via Storyful)

The other 14 calves were in better condition than Oreo and were fed and cared for in a warming shed, Cobb said to Storyful.


Cobb also found some newborn calves in trouble when he checked on the cattle. So he pulled about 15 calves, all one to three days old, from the field that day, including one coated in snow and ice.

"I saw this particular calf, my daughter named Oreo, who was underneath plywood, covered in ice and snow. He was whimpering," Cobb told AccuWeather in an interview. "When I picked him up, he was in pretty rough shape."

Oreo was taken inside Cobb’s family home to be warmed up in a bath by Cobb’s daughter McKinley and his wife Kelly.

"We usually take calves to the warming barn, but he was a little more iced up than everyone else, so we took him home and rubbed him down," Cobb said.

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The other 14 calves were in better condition than Oreo and were fed and cared for in a warming shed, Cobb said. The calves typically stay there for about 12 to 24 hours before being brought back to the field with the rest of the cattle.

Cobb has been working on the farm, starting with helping his father, since the time he was 10 years old. He said that while there was a similar storm two years ago, this kind of storm is a "fluke."

The conditions made it difficult for the crew to pick up the calves throughout the day on Saturday, as strong winds whipped snow and ice throughout the field.

"Our defrosters weren’t keeping up with de-frosting the windows, and the windshield wipers were totally iced over," Cobb said.

The intensifying snowstorm tracked southward through western British Columbia and hugged the Oregon coast Saturday into Sunday. The strong storm pulled Arctic air from southwest Canada across central Washington state, according to Smerbeck.

The result was snow and strong winds for Ephrata, especially later Friday night into Saturday.

"Temperatures fell through the 20s Friday night and into the teens Saturday afternoon with north to northeast winds gusting to 40 to 45 mph, causing blizzard conditions," Smerbeck said.

The National Weather Service (NWS), as well as city and county officials, reported heavy snow in Ephrata, Washington, over the weekend.


Cobb captured the event of the cattle in the snow in photos and videos, which he then shared on social media.

He has previously livestreamed videos of cattle in warmer conditions.

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