Most people in our readership area were ready for Tuesday’s snow storm. The people that many of us depend on most were also ready – the area road crews.
Winter hasn’t been kind to our region so far this year and we can only hope that in 10 days, that prognosticator of prognosticators, the groundhog, forecasts an early end to this winter season.
Before this winter, many people never heard of a polar vortex but they sure know about it now. It’s hard to believe that, so far in January, we have endured two weeks of single-degree (or colder) temperatures and two snowstorms to boot – with more forecast over the next week.
This week’s snowstorm dumped more than eight inches of the powdery white crystals on our readership area. Road crews not only battled the blowing snow but the frigid cold as they went about their duties. As of Wednesday morning, they were still clearing drifting snow from open roadways.
But, to the credit of all of the folks who worked through the night to clear the roads, they did a fine job. By 6 a.m. Wednesday morning, main roads were cleared and mostly wet. By 9 a.m. secondary roads took on the same condition.
We sometimes fail to recognize the efforts of those who toil in the cold to make sure we can traverse the roads while we’re home and warm. In the rural areas, plow-operators need to exercise extra caution because there are times when finding the road through blowing snow is a challenge.
Traffic is always a problem for the plow operators, especially in towns where people are trying to buy that last quart of milk, loaf of bread or gallon of gas. Few people are pleased with the consistency of weather forecasters, but being prepared ahead of the impending arrival is a good habit to get into.
It seems that courtesy becomes a road casualty during snowstorms. Exercising courtesy and caution is a must as you navigate slippery roads; especially so when your actions inhibit the road crews from doing their job. After all, they are trying to make it safe for everybody.
When you see the municipal truck coming towards you and plowing snow, slow down and give the driver a little extra room. If you are behind the truck, back off and keep yourself safe – you never know when that truck may need to make a quick stop.
When you come across one of the plows clearing an intersection, slow down and be prepared to stop. That truck could back up and go forward several times as it pushes snow back far enough so you and I can stop and enter the intersection, and see safely in all directions. Avoid the urge to zip around the truck and putting yourself in danger.
And of course there are always people who unnecessarily take the snow from their driveways and sidewalks and put it unsafely back in the streets.
Overall, our regional road crews deserve a big “thank you” so far this winter. Keep up the good work folks, there’s another storm forecast for next week.