For the local street and road crews, it's already been a long, long winter.
While it seems Northwest Iowa doesn't get a break from snow, ice and wind, neither do the members of the city, county and state road crews responsible for cleaning it up.
With another more powder expected today, Bruce Jacobsen warned drivers that more snow on top of the 20 plus inches in the area will mean more headaches for drivers.
"With the winter we've had, the ditches are already full - there's no place to put the additional snow we're going to get," said the area maintenance manager for the Iowa Department of Transportation. "Driving conditions will probably get worse - we won't be able to keep the roads as clean as we have and with no place for the snow to go, it will drift a lot quicker."
For those responsible for the often thankless task of removing the snow, planning is no simple task. While they use everything from state-of-the-art long-range weather forecasts to the Old Farmer's Almanac, there is no guaranteed way to predict the weather. "Plan for the worst and hope for the best," says Storm Lake street superintendent Pat Kelly.
However, with the early and hard winter, road supervisors are keeping an eye on this year's winter budget. Jacobsen said the area he manages, which covers 12 counties in Northwest Iowa including Buena Vista, has already spent about one-third of its annual overtime budget in just a two-week period.
With the budget running thin, Jacobsen said he hopes there are other DOT regions in the state with extra overtime that can be directed towards hard-hit Northwest Iowa.
Read the rest of this article in the 12/28 Pilot Tribune.