OREGON – The extreme subzero temperatures have put some county snowplows in the shop, just when they’re needed on the roads.
Ogle County Engineer Curtis Cook said the extreme weather had caused some trucks to malfunction.
“Right now the temperatures are causing havoc,” Cook said Monday. “Over the last 24 hours, we have had trucks freeze up.”
The malfunctions are caused by blowing fine snow and extreme cold and wind.
That has left three or four of the county snowplow fleet on the sidelines.
“I think this morning alone, I have had three or four of the 13 trucks down,” Cook said. “Their filter systems have frozen up.”
That was just one issue the trucks were having when the temperature outside was nearing 20 below with wind chills of 40 below.
“It has been an uphill battle,” Cook said. “Our guys are working hard to keep the trucks running and the roads open.”
Steady winds of 15-20 mph and gusts over 30 have contributed to the drifting on the road.
Fortunately, the winds have been from different directions over the past few days, Cook said.
“Every road in the county has experienced drifting,” he reported. “However, it is not horrible, because the drifts are lower because of the wind direction changes.”
He said if the wind was always out of one direction, the drifting would have been high enough that only heavy equipment would have been able to clear the roads.
With the shift in winds, there was drifting, but each drift was smaller than it could have been.
Any drifted roads that the county snowplows are unable to clear during routine routes will be addressed when the wind speed lowers.
When the winds finally die down and the temperature rises, Cook said, a front-end loader will help to clear the edges of roads and push drifts back.