Plows trying to keep up with snow

A Grand Rapids plow truck goes down College Ave (January 25, 2014).

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The people in charge of the plows in the City of Grand Rapids are hoping to hit every street in the city by Friday.

But it’s been tough to keep a promise this week, and many side streets are still covered in snow.

>>Inside 2 to 4 more inches of snow expected through tonight

We saw firsthand Thursday the difficulties of keeping the streets clear. The skies seemed to lighten up a bit, but then a snow band slammed the northeast side of Grand Rapids. City plow drivers reported about two inches of snow in an hour.

Instead of hitting the side streets, they had to go back to the main arteries and start clearing them again.

“We still don’t have all the local streets done. We’re at about 75 percent,” said Grand Rapids Public Services Manager Vic Rose. “We hope by nightfall that we’ve been in all of them, but I can’t promise that.”

The city has had two 12-hour plowing shifts running since the snow began earlier this week, but that won’t end when the snow stops. The reason is somewhere under the snow, where the storm drain grates are located.

>>Photos: Heavy snowfall from early winter storm

There are concerns about the forecast. Once the snow lets up, Storm Team 8 is forecasting the possibility of freezing rain early this weekend, and heavy rain later in the weekend.

Warmer temperatures and rain could melt much of the snow, leading to concerns of flooding or icing. So plows will continue hitting the edge of the curb in an effort to uncover the drain openings.

Officials expect some complaints from residents who thought they were done cleaning off their sidewalks and driveway entrances, but there is a great deal of concern about flooding.

“We’ve got some areas where we haven’t got all the leaves. So we know we’ve got problems and that’s primarily northeast. When we get to curb back efforts we’re going to funnel most of our efforts in the northeast,” said Rose. “We know we’re going to put some leave up on the greenbelt but that’s better than flooding the streets.”

Residents are told to call the city’s 311 service if they have snow removal or flooding problems.

Earlier this week, city officials asked residents to try to keep sidewalks and areas around mail boxes clear of snow.

But for some, picking up a shovel may pose a risk too their health. Along with increased slip and fall, vehicle crash and sledding related injuries, local emergency rooms are seeing an increase in heart attacks contributed to the snow.

Dr. David Barber, MD, and emergency room physician at Spectrum Butterworth says the American Heart Association has some sound advice on how to avoid having a heart attack while shoveling

“They recommend using a smaller shovel or snow blower when shoveling snow. That helps decrease the load that you put on the heart,” said Dr. Barber.

They also recommend avoiding alcohol and heavy meals around the time you are shoveling.



American Heart Association – Shoveling Snow Health Hazards


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