Snow Removal Strategy & the Flurry of Winter Weather

We go deep on snow and snowplow and towns’ and cities’ strategies for how to deal with the avalanche.

City contractors spread sand on roadways in the early morning hours after an overnight winter storm, Jan. 10, 2011, in Johns Creek, Ga. (AP)

Last winter it was the “snowpocalypse” in Washington. Last month, it was howling in the Midwest, then New York City was frozen in snow.

This week, it’s the “weather bomb” of 2011, with 49 of 50 states seeing snow and, on the eastern seaboard, big snow and ice starting in the south – hello, Atlanta! – and moving north from there.

We’re playing in the snow today. We look at what’s going on: weather versus climate. Then we’re climbing into the snowplow world, to talk with some of the country’s top pros about the strategy and science of clearing snow.

-Tom Ashbrook


Heidi Cullen, climatologist and former research scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. She was the Weather Channel’s climate expert. She’s now senior research scientist at Climate Central and a visiting lecturer at Princeton University.

Mark DeVries, national chair of the American Public Works Association’s committee on winter maintenance. He’s a snow removal expert who has worked for decades as a maintenance superintendent for McHenry County, an area just outside of Chicago. He’s a member of the Midwestern States Snow and Ice Group, and a member of the Winter Maintenance Technical Service Program.

Wanda Booker, sanitation services manager for the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She oversees snow removal for the city of Milwaukee.

Mike Kennedy, director of winter operations in the Minneapolis Dept of Public Works. He has been working with the DPW since 1990.

Ellis Hennican, columnist for Newsday in New York.

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