Unless you’ve been living under a rock far away from any buildings that could have provided a shelter for white, powdery drifts, you know it snowed in the Washington D.C. region this past week. A lot, actually. Here in Chantilly, we ended up with around 30 inches. While I could easily add to the crucifixion of local governments regarding each’s response, or lack thereof, I’ll instead bring forth a point many have overlooked –especially those who entitle themselves as “transplants.”
Our region is no stranger to snow, but we are a stranger to cleaning up massive amounts of it all at once. Why? It comes down to a lack of adequate equipment to deal with snow removal operations. When you visit a snow city such as Buffalo on a snowy January morning, you’ll see plows taller than an SUV. But when you visited your local television station and watched plows traverse your favorite bottle necked route, you saw plows lower than the grill of a Chevy Cobalt (not an endorsement; I drive a Dodge).
That’s the real problem. We have equipment, but we don’t have the right equipment. We have small plows, not big ones. We have small dump trucks, not massive snow haulers. We have tiny Bobcats and front=end loaders, not bulldozers and earth movers. We have sunshine, not melt machines.
Because of our lack of equipment, we seem to be unable to “deal with it” like our more snow savvy neighbors to the north who have figured it out. And the chance is nothing will change until we begin to see this economically and sanity crippling storms repeat like a marathon of ‘Groundhog Day.’ Right now, the spending cannot be justified.
So if you’re wondering why we can’t handle it, it’s because we can’t. We need more resources devoted to snow cleanup to ensure we can reopen services and schools after a storm strikes. Right now we’re the laughing stock for so many cities used to dealing with snow woes.
Until then, good luck digging out your car on your untouched street. While your digging is almost over, the resource realization problem is only beginning.