Rural Plows Battle High Winds, Constantly Reforming Snow Drifts - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Rural Plows Battle High Winds, Constantly Reforming Snow Drifts


The snow may have stopped falling, but strong winds in the area have kept rural plow drivers busy re-opening roads.

Drifting has been a problem over the last 24 hours, first on the east-west roads, then on the north-south roads.

Outside of cities, in wide open spaces, the wind is able to pick up snow and move it across fields.

Leaving it in areas that can catch it, like roads.

These rural roads fall under the watchful eye of townships, which have much smaller staffs and budgets to keep their roads open compared to cities.

The last day and a half of high winds, have posed a constant challenge.

"One day it got one road and the next day it got the next road," says Geneseo Township Highway Commissioner Ray Girten. He spent the last 12 hours behind the wheel of his plow. Trying like all plow drivers, to keep his stretches of rural roads, open.

"Wind is the worst factor we have to fight," says Girten,

"we have three and four foot drifts in a lot of areas, and they freeze pretty hard, so they're hard to move and that kind of thing, you get stuck on 'em."

Snow slithers across the roads, following whichever direction the wind takes it. Once it catches in a ditch, it builds. Creeping across the roads, gradually making them impassable. Until the wind dies, a plow's work can be ruined in hours.

"We just got through all of 'em today, and some of the roads only got one lane of traffic, and some of the ones we opened this morning probably blown back shut," says Girten.

Even as the operators clear the roads, the wind fights back. Blowing the snow the blades scrape up right back over the windshields. As if trying to turn the plow drivers back. Girten says that part of the job never changes.

"I done it, I don't like to get used to it, but I done it."

Plow drivers like Girten will be back out again Tuesday. Fighting the wind until it finally backs down.