Joy and Pain of Iowa Winter

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DES MOINES, Iowa — Winter in Des Moines can be joyful.  Thirteen year old Nicholas Calderon laughs as he takes another turn on his family sled down Capital Hill.  His feelings are a complete 180-degree turn from the pain many in Iowa experienced during Monday’s snow storm, including Des Moines snowplow drivers tasked with removing it.  “We had a very good idea of how much snow was going to arrive what caught us off guard was the intensity of the snowfall Monday afternoon,” said Public Works Director Jonathan Gano.   Crews were able to plow out the entire city in less than twenty-four hours.  Gano said it is a job that used to take 36 but there was a reason that success may have gone unnoticed.  “We are equally disappointed with the disability of plows to push-off the huge amounts of snow that showed up real fast.  It takes four to six hours for a snow plow to run a complete cycle of it’s snow route and in that period, 4-6 inches of snow showed up so it could have looked like no plow had gone by,” He said.

With another six inches expected in Des Moines through the weekend Gano is thankful leftover snow treating chemicals, fuel and equipment from the last few mild winters have gone unused.  It is helping to ease this year’s budget.  “Over the last two years we have generated $3.2 million worth of savings that we have turned back around into street repairs,” said Gano.  It is true last year’s mild winter saved Des Moines millions of dollars but it killed the vibe for outdoor lovers.  Monday’s snow storm has created a winter wonderland here in Des Moines on Capital Hill filled with winter memories families call priceless.  “It just reminds me of when I was a kid.  I grew up with only small hills so this has been a good time even as an adult getting out and going sledding,” said  Camille Calderon of Des Moines.  As her son, Nicholas, readies himself for another day of conquering snow at the nearest Des Moines hill, snowplow drivers will get another chance to tackle mother nature in their own way.  “We enjoy the small breaks in-between snow storms and rest up, refuel and refit and get our equipment ready for doing this again perhaps as soon as Thursday night and Friday night,” Gano said.

The snow has created outdoor activities that won’t break the bank like free sledding locations across the metro but it has also hurt the wallet too.  Des Moines police issued over 700 parking citations to vehicles parked at the wrong time during the snow ordinance hours. Each citation is $35.

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