The storms that came through Benton County put a strain on the plows like nothing we've seen, probably in my lifetime. With two foot of snow and temperatures that froze the snow solid, the roads were nearly impossible to clear. Just when we thought that was over, we had blowing snow causing drifting adding more issues to the already cleared roads, and more trouble for snow plows still trying to break through the roads. 

In storms like this, if you're stuck in the country, you try not to panic, at the same time you know if there's an emergency, you are on your own. Hopefully, if you live in the country, you have a well-stocked pantry and freezer. It wouldn't be bad to have that in town either...BEFORE the news hits that there's a storm coming.

I always cringe when storms like this hit. in another part of Iowa, there was a group that thought it would be a great time to take a road trip to home to Chicago in a 15-passenger van. Three families with little kids, and a gas tank on empty. To save a few miles, they thought, "Let's take the gravel..." 

Needless to say, it took three officers and vehicles, to rescue them. These are the people that officers have to deal with every time the weather is life-threatening.  The drivers don't realize that not only were they stupid, and risked their very lives, but they also put officers at risk. 

I was in a different part of Iowa last week, I had the joy of hearing about some of the stories there. The storm was so bad that it of course landed cars and semis in the ditches. When you go out in storms like this, you take a risk.

When you call 911, it's much like an emergency room. There is priority given to idiots in 15 passenger vans with children and no gas. If you have a full tank, you're told to wait, keep the tailpipe clear, but wait, they are coming to get you as soon as possible.

For some reason, those of us at home, look out the window and expect like Elizabeth Montgomery in Bewitched to just be able to wiggle our noses and magically streets and roads are cleared. But we forget. The people clearing the roads are humans too. They don't have any super powers. 

Some of the guys that run our plows here slept at the shop and ran 12 hour days to get people out. Whether they think it or not, the plow drivers are in a very risky business. With temperatures below zero, they are out there looking for roads under tons of snow. One mistake and THEY are in the ditch waiting for someone else to rescue them. 

People tend to get cranky when they think progress isn't being made fast enough. Yet, we know that we're incapable of doing the job that our men do. So relax when storms like this hit. 

Be appreciative, be patient, pop in a movie and wait. These men do the best they can, as fast as they can. They sacrifice a lot to get us out of these impossible storms. Their families don't get to see them for days and in this case probably most of a week or more. Let's not even mention the exhaustion of looking at blinding snow all day, while trying to locate that road underneath it all.

I get just a bit testy when someone comments and says that "all the other roads or counties are clear why aren't ours?" I suggest they start driving a plow and report back. I suppose with all of our technology, we don't look around us. We don't notice the hills that stop snow, or the way the wind is blowing or rows of corn stopping snow or the things that help to keep roads clear. We are so out of touch that nature and common sense in this weather is completely gone.

Driving home one day on the gravel road, I saw something I'd never seen before. A perfectly straigh line across the road made of snow. It's a picture that I should have taken but I can't remember if I had a phone at the time. It didn't dawn on me that weather fronts had a clear line like that.

I know driving on 218 from LaPorte to Vinton last week, was not fun. But I also noticed that the direction of the road made it drift more than the roads in the other direction that I had just gotten off of. So while the road was technically plowed, it was drifting again. I was never so glad to get back to the city of lights and glad to see a plow, once again making the rounds to keep the road clear. 

I heard that there was also a water main that decided to bust in the weather. Again our men were out there in brutal conditions, saving the town. Hopefully, there weren't whiners about the water, but I'm sure someone did. 

So, maybe I'm saying, "Thank you!" A heartfelt thank you to our guys out there rescuing us, digging us out, and overall saving us. If you see any of our officers, deputies, EMTs, probably Fire Department and all who had to be out in these crazy storms to bail us say thank you. It goes a long way. 

Just two more months until spring, not that this means anything in Iowa, but it means we'll get through this...with a lot of help from the good men who do the grunt work, and the men and women who are at the end of those 911 call responses.

Thanks to all of you, for keeping everything running, even when it's impossible!


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TP January 22, 2024, 8:02 pm The snow plow in the photo is an Iowa D.O.T. plow truck Not a Benton County plow. As you probably know, the state plows does the federal and state roads and that leaves the county to do the rest, paved and gravel.

Editor's Note: Awww man...thanks for the correction!
GB January 22, 2024, 9:36 pm Not sure how much of this global warming we can take!