Thursday, January 27, 2011


Boston, MA

During my business week in New England I had occasion to ride shotgun in a snow plow truck.  I ended up being awake for 30 hours straight.  Below are some photos and blog notes I took during the peak of the storm.

I flew up here on Monday, arriving locally about 3PM.  Tuesday was spent driving around and looking at various job sites where my colleagues remove snow.   Crews are out plowing, shovelling, loading, transporting and removing snow.  The planning for events like this is unbelievable.  We will deploy over 300 workers during the next big storm.

When snow is removed from neighborhoods, it is taken to one of many "snow farms"

Tuesday I saw the remnants of the last storm still on the ground

Wednesday all field personnel were told to stay home during the day and wait for a call out.  I spent the day in my hotel catching up on all of my paperwork and reports.  I love being all caught up on my work.  I tried several times to nap during the day but only managed 45 minutes of sleep.

Wed. 5 PM. Arrived at local branch. Most workers are at home trying to sleep before returning late tonight to run plows and shovel sidewalks.

News is forecasting 6-9 inches tonight.

Weird for me that they are showing all of the local church service cancellations on TV.

545 PM. Snow showers have been falling for 2 hours. It's wet and not sticking to the ground. We spoke with colleagues in DC and they've been getting it pretty good all afternoon. It's headed this way.

6PM. We broke for dinner at a real nice Italian place.

730 PM. The storm has slowed. We are in between 2 waves. Its light rain/snow mix. We will call off operations until midnight. I return to my hotel.
1000 PM. I recvd call from colleagues in Washington DC, where they are also working the same storm. A plow operator is missing. He was last heard from over 2 hours ago and they can't reach him by phone. Several trucks are out searching.

1130 PM. The missing man is found okay. He said he lost his phone in the snow and just continued working.

I've got my extreme weather gear and I'm ready for the cold!


Thursday. 1200 AM. I arrive at the office to find all crews deployed without me. Everyone was called back out at 10 and no one told me. I wait until 1AM to see if someone comes by. The snow us really falling now.
I seem to have misplaced by boot?

1AM. I call a plow operator and he agrees to come pick me up at 2.

2AM. I'm in a plow truck and twenty minutes later we are pushing snow.
The above street light has an 8' pole which is covered by what we are removing from the roadway.

We are clearing streets, driveways and sidewalks in a high end golf community with homes from the 600's. The team here is one plow truck, one bobcat and three guys on foot using shovels and snow blowers.  The shovelers are very hard to keep on task.  Turnover is high, as you can imagine.

330AM. Its snowing about 2" per hour. Our plow pump fails and our truck stalls. Our battery is low and the truck won't start. We get out into the hardest falling snow I've ever known. Our bobcat operator is also a mechanic.  Below he works with the pump and is able to re-start the truck. We head back to the shop to trade out equipment.


430 AM. Back on site plowing. So much new snow fell while we were gone, you can't tell we were here.

9 AM. We're still at it. They are expecting more snow for the next 2 nights. Then again on Tuesday. My driver says this snow won't melt until mid April. The commitment level of these workers is inspiring and impressive. Most of the 300 workers have not had a day off since Christmas.

12 noon. The job is done.  We seemed to have hidden all 70 houses in the sub-division.

Headed for my hotel to crash. Flight home leaves in 18 hours.

Thursday. 430 PM. I'm awake after a nap. Crews will start hauling snow out of neighborhoods starting at 7 PM. It's one thing to push it around and clear streets and driveways but soon enough you run out of room and have to truck it out before the next storm. I elect to stay in since I have an early morning flight.

The official totals last night ranged from 9 to 13 inches. Boston averages 40 inches for an entire winter but so far this season they have received 60 inches. And there's more snow in the 7 day forecast.  Fortunately, for me, I'm headed back to start Messing About in South Florida.

No comments: