Northwest suburbs bracing for winter storm
Weather-wise, Christmas in Minnesota was non-eventful. No blizzards and no deep freeze. But that might change as a winter storm could bring one to three inches of snow to the northwest suburbs followed by freezing rain.
In Plymouth, city crews are ready to respond.
“We are ready,” said Joe Paumen, Plymouth’s streets and utilities manager. “We’re ready for the snow and we’ve had a couple of full call outs already, so we’re ready to go.”
Bracing for rain, snow and ice
Wednesday was a busy day at the city’s public works department. Bulldozers dug into a mountain of salt and scooped it into snow plows.
Workers braced for rain, snow, ice and a mixed bag of weather that could make roads slippery.
“We’re monitoring the National Weather Service forecast,” Paumen said. “We’re loading our trucks with salt and with salt/brine.”
A fleet of 18 plows and other heavy equipment spent the morning getting mobilized to combat whatever comes down from the sky.
“We want to make sure that if, like the forecast says, we get that two to four [inches], we’re on it before the rush hour traffic packs it to the roadway,” Paumen said.
If snow totals exceed two inches, Plymouth plow operators will spring into action and clear 320 miles of city streets, cul de sacs and trails.
“Our No. 1 goal,” Paumen said, “is to provide a high level of service to our residents.”
Salt and water mix
The plow operators use brine, a combination of salt and water. They apply the solution to the road before it snows, which causes initial snow to melt. It’s also better for the earth.
“Salt is a tool that we use to try to melt the snow and try to maintain a safe roadway,” Paumen said. “But we do try to be conscious of the environment and try to use as little as possible.”
Regardless of what happens, Paumen won’t be fazed. He had just started his job last spring when he was greeted by an epic April blizzard.
“It was a great two to three day short course on snow plowing,” Paumen said. “A storm like that will really show you what you need to work on and what you’re doing well.”
The NW suburbs received 22 inches of snow from the spring storm.