Rob: The first picture is the Lake Effect snow that we get from South West winds. It followed County Rd#2 from Gananoque to Maitland [East of Brockville].
And the second picture was taken just 3 Km north!
I have two shifts. One starts at 04:00, the other at 16:00hrs. This lake effect started around noon so I had to keep my guys to plow, sand/salt. I have one guy that lives near Lyndhurst [north from garage], he came to work for 16:00hrs and some of my units were completing their routes. He came in and said to me ” what the hell are they doing out when its sunny” He didn’t believe me when I told him that there was 3 inches along county Rd#2.
The Lake effect snow belt off of lake Ontario is usually between Watertown and Syracuse. This is with the prevailing West wind. They were forecasting Watertown to get it the day before but the wind was from the Southwest so we got it until around 12:00hrs then it shifted to the West and Watertown got 15cm last evening. It has been this way for the last 20 years or so. Lake Ontario doesn’t seem to freeze anymore and if it does it is late into the winter. Once it freezes we are fine.
It is usually unpredictable and the weather man always takes the blame.
GF: It must have been somewhat predictable because you kept your crew on… You predicted or knew enough to patrol it.
I was driving back from Brockville around noon when I hit a light fine snow. Lake effect was predicted for Watertown but not us. I headed back to the Garage and noticed the flag at the OPP station in Lansdowne blowing from the South West, I knew then that it was coming. I pulled up the radar and saw that it was time to load the trucks. If It was a half hour later, I would have been scrambling to get the 16:00hrs shift in early.
A conversation with a Road Supervisor is a new series that I will be posting from time to time about the experiences of a road supervisor.
Rob Ferguson CRS-I is a Patrol Supervisor for the Municipality of United Counties of Leeds and Grenville since November 1986. I was hired as an operator and worked with a wingman for 13 years, we were an around the clock service with possibly working 20hrs with 3hr rest then back at it. .Then came the hours of work law, and with the increased demand for level of service from ratepayers we decided in order to afford this we would go with single man plough operations and run two shifts. Early in my career with UCLG I requested training and was sent to numerous courses and 11 years ago I was interviewed for a supervisor job and was offered the position. I still take courses myself and have CRS-I credentials. I send my staff to some of the same courses that I have taken. I look after 300km of class two and three roads. I also look after two patrol garages with 6 full time and 8 part time staff running 7 plow routes averaging 43km each.