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Local road crews getting workout

Scott Seitz2 • Feb 2, 2011 at 2:00 PM

Mother Nature has stopped toying with the Firelands area.

After a few snow storms that produced an inch here or two there, Mother Nature brought out the heavy artillery this week, combining heavy snowfall with high winds and just to tops things off, freezing precipitation.

But the local street and highway crews appear to be hanging in there.

(NOTE - To see photos of what's happening in Norwalk during this winter storm, click HERE and HERE.)

"We're having a little drifting problem with the wind," Huron County Engineer Joe Kovach said. "And we're anticipating another round, combining all that with sleet and freezing rain."

Kovach said some of his crew worked overtime Monday into Tuesday.

"Our second shift begins at 4, when we can bring in some fresh guys," he said.

"We're getting plenty of snow, but so far it's been the light, fluffy stuff," Kovach said. "But that kind of snow gets up in the wind.

"But the freezing rain, by far, is a lot worse," he said. "Then there is the black ice, there's not much you can do with that."

Kovach said even the most dedicated snow-plow truck driver can become fatigued.

"If you sit in the truck too long, you can become squirrely," he said. "It wears on you. That's why we have the guys come in, have lunch, drink some coffee, and then go at it again."

Kovach said the break in the storm Tuesday helped things.

"We were out in the afternoon and the roads looked pretty good," he said. "Again, we are waiting for the next round."

Kovach added the wind can play tricks.

"Which roads drift really depends on which way the wind is blowing," he said. "The wind is a crazy thing. It can do a 180-degree shift on us."

City of Norwalk crews are plugging along, too.

"We were out all night long," said Richard Moore, street department superintendent.

"It was getting a little more blustery with the wind," he added. "And we've been on the borderline with the freezing rain."

Moore said if he had the choice, he'd take snow over freezing rain anyday.

"We've been hauling the snow out of the uptown," he said. "We've also been busy with repairs on the plows, nothing major, just some minor things like a snowplow blade."

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