Monday, December 21, 2009

Snow to ICE on 29 through Charlottesville.

Oh, the joys of being a grounds keeper!

I've been out in this mess a lot lately, trying to clear sidewalks at my job, and have had one nasty fall that banged up my knee a bit, one that left my ankle a little sore, and a couple near misses that will probably leave me sore in all kinds of special places in the morning. Black ice, oh, how I hate you so hard. Like many on my way home this evening, I heard the news about it getting below twenty degrees tonight and how all the roads will be black ice city thanks to today's seemingly merciful sun, but I also saw something else.

As a grounds keeper, there are at least four basic things I need to do after a major storm like this one. The first obviously is clear the sidewalks (we get someone else with a plow, or in this case a bulldozer, to handle the parking lots), the second is salt for ice so people don't slip (breaking up any thick sections with a shovel or hammer as necessary), then there is the less obvious clearing of the AC units so they don't burn out, but the forth major thing I do, which is clear the storm drains of snow, is what I noticed had not been done along 29 through Charlottesville. As a result, the packed in snow has prevented the melt water created today from draining off the streets, and in the low dips it has begun to pool, in some areas as much as 8 inches deep by my estimation. With the low temperatures expected tonight, this is not good. If these pools freeze over, they will make quite substantially nasty ice for people driving into the dips. Furthermore, where black ice is normally a very thin layer of ice on the road which is difficult to see due to its transparency, I suspect there will be some literal black ice tomorrow. The melt water in some areas was so dirty it was literally black, and in one case, a pool blended in with the asphalt so well I didn't realize it was water until the car before us turned into it and caused a splash. This stuff is going to be really, really nasty tomorrow if not already tonight.

Be careful folks!