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Local road crews waiting and ready for the storm

January 11, 2011

PLYMOUTH — Marshall County has officially entered the deep freeze as plenty of snow blanketed the area over the weekend and more is forecast for the coming days.
Marshall County Emergency Management Agency Director Clyde Avery issued a statement Monday afternoon from the National Weather Service stating that a large area of system snow is expected to begin at daybreak Tuesday and continue into early Wednesday morning before giving way to intense lake effect snow showers over our area.
Snow totals could be in excess of 8 inches in some areas. The National Weather Service has issued a Lake Effect Snow Watch Wednesday morning through Thurs-day morning.
In addition to heavy accumulations, winds will be out of the west at 10-15 mph and may cause reduced visibility and blowing and drifting conditions.
“The hardest part from my point of view is not knowing what to expect or when to expect it,” said Marshall County Highway Superintendent Neal Haeck. “Sometimes it can be kind of a guessing game about whether or not we’re going to get what they say we’re going to get.”
Another difficulty — at times — for road crews is keeping their vehicles on the road in working order. The normal wear and tear of long periods of snow plowing is difficult enough. Winter weather adds another difficulty.
“When it gets really cold it can be very tough on our diesel trucks,” said Haeck. “That’s something we have to battle occasionally.”
Haeck says that his drivers are veterans of many seasons of heavy snowfall and because of that safety isn’t as big an issue.
“We’ve done some training in the past but it’s been quite a few years since we’ve done that,” he said. “Honestly my guys are veterans and while it might take you a week or two to get acclimated again to driving in this weather every year, they’ve become good at it over the years. We still get stuck once in awhile but it’s like any other skill, you pick it up and it doesn’t leave you.”
Haeck says his concern is more for county residents driving in bad weather.
“I have a different kind of philosophy on how you should handle things, I really don’t believe in the ‘state of emergency’ declarations all the time,” he said. “My feeling is that if our trucks are running and the weather is bad we should be out there clearing the roads for people. If the weather gets bad enough that I pull our trucks off the road, it’s bad enough that nobody should be out at all. There are times when normal drivers should probably stay off the roads for safety reasons but our trucks are going to be out there clearing the roads.”

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