By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Snow plow operators have been racking up the overtime this month. They’ve been busy clearing roadways and then removing giant snow piles from businesses.

Those snow piles have made for limited visibility for drivers at intersections around the Twin Cities.

“To be in this business you have to enjoy it,” Ron Cemenski said.

Business for Cemenski and his crew was slow during the first half of winter. But since Feb. 1, they’ve been able to plow ahead. L&R Suburban Landscaping spends the cold weather months lifting drifts and stacking snow. And lately, they’ve been on snow patrol 24/7.

“We finally just got done plowing from the last two weeks and now we are getting ready to start hauling. We just started today,” said Cemenski. “It’s going to be the rest of the weekend for us.”

That’s because businesses want their parking spots back. Cemenski’s crew will haul about 20 truckloads every two hours; they dump it in the back of their property.

To put in perspective just how much the snow has piled up, we’ve broken three daily snowfall records this month. So far, this is the fifth-snowiest month since the year 2000. And there’s still two weeks left of February.

For city crews, it poses a different kind of problem.

“This was kind of wild. We were on different hours just about every day this month,” Jay Strachota, the streets and parks superintendent for Hopkins, said.

His crew has to be up when the snow comes down. That means a lot of overnight shifts and plenty of overtime as they try to make intersections more visible for drivers. He can’t wait for pothole season to get here.

“It all happened very rapidly within two weeks. We get a lot of snow but not usually in this short of term,” Strachota said.

Up until Jan. 31, the Twin Cities had only had 14 inches of snow. We’ve gotten 22 inches in February alone.

John Lauritsen

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