Preparing for storms
The preparation for snow and ice removal begins before any winter weather is in the forecast. Hennepin County prepares its new drivers with intensive training and does regular refresher training with all staff. Crews also do dry-runs in the fall to check for potential obstacles and issues prior to snow and ice removal.
When the weather turns colder, the snow and ice removal team monitors conditions and carefully determines the best ways to deal with whatever winter weather arises. Anti-icing materials can be spread up to three days in advance to help prevent the initial bond of snow and ice to roadway surface. In many cases, crews will deice the roads using rock salt (NaCl), and they may add liquids to deicers to reduce the bounce and scatter of deicing materials. Other materials can also be added to help melt snow and ice when temperatures start to really drop.
The timing of storms can also make a difference in the county’s response. Rain before snow means anti-icing materials, if applied, might end up just washing to the sides of the road or down the storm sewer. If snow is falling when there is traffic congestion, plowing is going to take longer. It may also take longer for snow and ice to melt.
Still, crews don’t let the power of the weather keep them from doing their work. Keeping Hennepin County roads safe during the winter is our priority, and crews work in shifts until the roadways are clear.