Wednesday, February 6, 2013

50% Chance....

In my next life, I want to come back as a weather man.  What an AWESOME gig that would be.  They just have to throw out...there's a 50% chance of SOMETHING and their asses are covered.  And because we're saps, we watch, knowing we have a better chance of predicting the weather than they do but we don't have the "skill" or "equipment" (although I will say, my dog has become a fairly accurate barometer of approaching storms) or technical know how through extensive "training" to be able to predict with such  impending storms  with /insert sarcasm laser like accuracy /end sarcasm.

Up until this winter this hasn't really affected me much beyond a minor inconvenience.  You know what I'm talking about...the threat of "the big one" coming and you head to the grocery store to stock up on toilet paper and milk and white bread because, these ARE like Little House on the Prairie days where you'll be literally SNOWED IN FOR DAYS...maybe even WEEKS on end and you will NEED those supplies.  And still you go and buy those white items, and even settle for the store brand toilet paper because someone has beat you to all the Charmin, because you never know and you want to be prepared.  And that "big one"?  Yeah, well, that veered south and you  ended up with a dusting of snow and you're thinking what in the holy hell are you going to do with 4 packages of Great Value toilet paper that feels like sandpaper?

Well, this winter, the weather reports have become a bigger factor in planning for me so knowing when they're coming and how big they're going to be is important.  I am working part time for the landscape business as something of a snow removal dispatcher for plow/salt/walk crews.  They have installed a new software system that allows crew leads to clock in people and equipment to sites using android phones or laptops.  This is all new and still has some kinks in it so they wanted someone in the office for the snow events to take calls in the event that phones or computers do down, to shift around the schedule and to verify that all the work orders are complete so that they can be sent to billing.  A typical full run of anything more than an inch of snow will create over 500 work orders.  And that's what I do, monitor all those work orders until they're complete.

There are so many factors that have to be taken into account during these events, it boggles my  mind.  The timing is HUGE, which is why it would be nice if we could get a TAD more accuracy from weather predictions than 50%.  Crews and equipment have to be made ready.  Parts (salt) need to be on hand.  For the most part crews CAN'T go out during the day and do anything more than a cursory pass through most businesses as parking lots are typically already filling/full, so the bulk of the work, out of necessity needs to be done in the wee hours of the morning.

As "luck" would have it, we have had these little storms come through pretty much every day/night since last Friday so these poor guys have been working almost around the clock.  It hasn't been a great deal of snow...maybe 1-2 inches with each one, but have you ever seen a parking lot plowed of 1-2 inches?  HUGE piles of slow are the end result.  The one storm that hit early Tuesday morning (5am), while still only being an inch or so, wound up being a TON of work because of the crew's inability to get into the sites because the businesses were opening and the lots were filling.  So they did what they could and then had to go back.

My point?  Timing is everything.  If the weather reports are going to guess at when and how much snow is coming, they'll have our crews either scrambling frantically playing catchup or sitting around waiting for an event to happen.  Neither ideal.

And since I'm on the subject, I just want to say that I hope that people who are able to drive into cleared parking lots, walk up to shoveled businesses, etc have respect for the men and women who make that happen.  ESPECIALLY when they make it happen DAILY during these kind of events.  It's hard work and it completely screws up your sleep cycle.  I know *I* can't and I'm guessing most people don't have the ability to just drop off to sleep because the opportunity is there, so finding a way to sleep during the day, to be ready for the next 50% possibility of an event is challenging. 

As I sit here typing, it has begun to snow.  Which...SURPRISE...was not predicted beyond "flurries".  Not sure if I'd call this flurries:
And I'm supposed to believe the "Climate Change" people and how they are able to accurately predict what the climate will be in the next 20 years when they and those of their ilk can't predict snow for the next 24 hours.  YEAH....RIGHT...

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