MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s a problem we are not used as early as Oct. 20, but a problem Minnesotans are dealing with today. A winter storm left many scrambling to find their winter clean-up gear. Even those who specialize in snow removal were caught off guard.

Greg Futchi plows. It’s just that he doesn’t usually do so this early.

“I was expecting to do fall cleanups through the entire month, and the last 24 hours I had to completely disassemble my fall leaf cleanup box and make sure my plow is still working,” Futchi said.

Luckily for Richfield homeowner Thom Jones, it was still working. He found himself switching gears, too.

“I was trying to get somebody to actually rake up all the leaves and that was not happening. It was hard to find somebody, and then all the sudden it’s snowing and it’s, ‘I guess I’m just moving to the snow plow,'” Jones said.

He used the app Plowz and Mowz, which calls snow contractors like Futchi on demand. The company has dispatched more than 1,500 calls in the Twin Cities over the past 24 hours.

When it comes to your yardwork, Futchi says if snow stays on the ground, leave the leaves alone. If it does warm up again, it’s best to get the leaves out of the way.

“I’ll have to do something in spring, but that’s six months from now,” Jones said.

Statewide, the State Patrol responded to nearly 500 crashes and 600 spinouts across Minnesota. Fifty crashes involved injuries, one of them serious. In addition, there were 22 jackknifed semi trucks, some blocking traffic for hours. The State Patrol reminds drivers the next time it snows, slow down, buckle up, turn your cruise-control off, and turn your headlights on.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield

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