Winter Weather News: Another winter storm is hitting the northern plains this week. But that won’t stop Plowy McPlowface, one of Minnesota’s famous snow plows
But that won’t stop Plowy McPlowface, one of Minnesota’s famous snow plows. Through the frosted windows and low visibility, these trucks race. This is what it’s like to drive in such harsh conditions.
“Your visibility is poor, it’s snowing, it’s freezing, your wipers are flapping trying to keep the windshield clean.”
Dan Pendergast is one of the drivers of Minnesota’s 800 snowplows. And in the Twin Cities where he drives, they can see up to 51 inches of snow in a single season.
“Here in Minnesota, things can happen so fast. It can go from rain to snow and ice very quickly and it’s dangerous,” says Pendergast.
In Minnesota, snowplows have names and snowplow drivers are local celebrities. Plowy McPlowface, Dark Blader and F. Salt Fitzgerald, to name a few.
“It gives him more personality and makes him more human,” says Meyer. “People take more precautions knowing that we have people inside those plows. So we hoped that would help remind people that we are doing a job there and help protect our men and women who are driving.”
Snowplow drivers, like Pendergast and Minnesota’s 1,600 other snowplow drivers, have a dangerous job on Minnesota’s snowy highways. Working 12-hour shifts, the men and women drive 80,000-pound trucks that simultaneously plow the streets and lay down salt and chemicals to keep the roads from becoming an icy mess.
“The interior of our trucks has three computer screens, four joysticks and several buttons to press to get things moving,” says Pendergast. “So there’s a lot going on on the road and a lot going on inside the cabin.”
He says finding the solution in the streets in the small window of opportunity between the end of the rain and the start of the snow is a tricky dance they train for.
They pull up on the side of the highways and as soon as they see the weather change to wintery precipitation, they drive off, in what they call a team plow.
“We put six or seven trucks in a row, and we push all the snow simultaneously, from left to right, and we use our computer systems in the truck, which are quite sophisticated. This tells us how much salt we have deposited,” says Pendergast.
Pendergast says when he sees southern cities like Atlanta’s snowmageddon in 2014 and, more recently, the Virginia ice disaster, which left motorists stuck in their cars for 24 hours, he’s not surprised. .
“When it starts to snow, the initial snow will melt on the road and traffic will roll on the road and more snow will start to pack down and stick to the road. You won’t get off,” says Pendergast.” There’s not much you can do because you won’t be able to get the chemicals out and I guess these areas don’t have the equipment that we have here, like icebreakers and a very good cutting edge equipment. We have 800 plows in the state, 200 in the metro area, Atlanta and Virginia will probably have 40 or less.
He also mentioned that an accident with a tractor-trailer can block traffic for hours, because you will not be able to put maintenance vehicles on the road because of the backup. It’s a domino effect of unfortunate events in cities that don’t usually see so much snow that’s hard to avoid.
“For those cities that don’t have the equipment, you get a freak snow or ice storm, that’s what it is, you can’t blame people for the situation that happens because you have had snow or rain and you don’t have it you won’t have the gear. You won’t be able to keep up,” Pendergast says.
In Minnesota, they have regular experience in the intricacies of road snow removal. Famous snowplows and their operators pay little heed to the celebrity status bestowed on them and focus on the snowy job at hand.
“Most people honk or give a thumbs up,” says Meyer. “Our fear is that we don’t want people to get in our way. We’re not trying to make it into celebrity status, because Plowy McPlowface has a job to do, and we want to make sure they can do the job. . .”
It’s so cold that…
Minnesota, which is used to snow and cold, could experience the coldest night of the season this week.
Lows in some areas on Tuesday night could drop to 30 degrees below zero, and over the next few days the wind chill in that area will be even colder than forecast.
In fact, it got so cold in the Midwest last week that Lake Michigan is turning out some fantastic frozen pancakes, but that’s not the latest breakfast trend.
Did I mention “falling iguanas”?
It was a real threat in Miami on Monday morning as the temperature dipped below 50 degrees.
This is their body’s way of protecting them until the temperature rises above 50 degrees, which for today should be late morning in most central and southern parts of Florida.
They can be mildly dangerous to humans, Chinchar says.
“Iguanas often sleep in trees, so when their bodies go dormant, they seem to fall from the sky into streets, cars, swimming pools, or even people walking around. And since iguanas are large, adult males can reach 5 feet long and weigh up to 20 pounds – it can be dangerous if one lands on you.”