From the office of Harford County Councilman Jim McMahan:
NOW YOU ASK, “WHERE IS THE DARN SNOW PLOW?”
Let me bring you up to date on the efforts of your county DPW.
I got off a conference call at 2pm with all county officials. This storm is unprecedented. Breakdowns plus not ever having enough equipment in a time like this has stretched resources to the limit. I don’t think I would be insensitive to the “Who Dat Nation” if I referred to this storm as our Katrina and we are poised to get 12 more inches of the white stuff. Here is a fact: only 75% of the developments have been plowed completely but the crews keep at it. The county DPW is aggressively dealing with the problem by calling in contractors to help in the clearing effort. Supervisors are even plowing developments.
The incidents of accidents go up with lack of sleep as you can well imagine so truck operators MUST break for some rest. The areas south of Bel Air where my son lives saw a plow late Friday night. They live on a dead end street near Hunters Run and the only word I have for him is “we will be there as soon as we can”. My daughter saw a plow finally last night at 10:30.
Crews have to respond to emergencies. That calls them away from development clearing. Critical calls such as clearing the road for heavy equipment to prevent a major roof collapse or plowing a country road so equipment can get to the site of a barn collapse in Benson take president. A hanger at Fallston Airport also was reported to have collapsed on several private aircraft.
29 mobile home villages in the county all have danger of roof cave-ins because of the weight of the snow on the flat mobile home roofs and the county does not plow the roads in those developments. However, if one collapses we must get emergency equipment on the scene for search and rescue and our plows would be pressed into service for this kind of an emergency.
With constant use you can imagine the wear and tear on equipment. Breakdowns will always occur taking much needed equipment out of service.
People will have to hunker down and realize that it has never been this way before. We are now finding that the plows can’t push this snow easily after two days of compaction and they have to call in front end loaders to assist.
The plan to clear developments goes like this. Main streets through developments are first. Cross streets are next and cul de sacs and dead end streets are last. The front end loaders have to work those areas as plows can’t pile it up. That is very time consuming.
We had another problem this morning and that was getting the milk trucks to the farms to pick up the raw milk for market. Many farmers now have milking parlors and the raw milk is stored in large stainless steel containers (coolers) The 18 wheelers pump from the farmer’s tanks to the trucks and the tanks are nearly full from Friday, Saturday and Sunday milkings and the roads were impassable in some cases. Crews continue to work on getting these roads open for the milk trucks. I hope milk will not have to be dumped. Farmers always seem to suffer in storms like this.
Well that’s a look at the other side of the street. For those of you that are still deep in snow I wish I could tell you that a plow will be there in a half hour but I can’t. I can tell you that we know you are there and we will be there just as soon as we can.
Please look in our your elderly neighbors and get to know the folks next door. That’s it from your Captain. Stay warm More tomorrow. Capt’n Jim