City plows and snow biz's kept busy following blizzard in La Crosse

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) – Much of Wisconsin is seeing a white Christmas this year, all thanks to a big storm system that swept through the region.

The City of La Crosse was blanketed in 8 inches of snow by about 5 p.m. Thursday.

And it’s a busy week just before the holidays for those in the snow biz as workers sweep the streets to keep the roads safe.

The city’s street department was hard at work starting at 4 a.m. Thursday, making sure the main arterial roads were kept clean.

Char Wegner has been plowing the streets of La Crosse for nearly 20 years.

“Wow, it doesn’t seem like it’s been that,” said Wegner.

But she’s not just a snow plow driver for the city. She’s also the street department’s secretary.

“My real job or regular job is in the office, answering phones for the street department and recycling department,” Wegner said. “I do the same thing until it snows. Then I’m out in a plow truck.”

She was one of 35 plow trucks out in full force at 4 a.m.

“The hardest part of it is traffic because everybody’s in a hurry and they try to cut in front of us or around us and it makes it hard for us to do what we need to do safely because we’re always double checking to see what they’re doing,” said Wegner.

While city street crews like Wegner keep busy clearing the city roads, it’s the small business plowers that are keeping the parking lots clear for the next two to three days.

“Anticipating the big snow and having a good season. Nice right before Christmas too for the guys. They get overtime,” said Mark Manske, co-owner of Les Manske & Son’s.

Manske’s business has around 15 snow vehicles out, taking care of commercial parking lots as well as some city streets.

“We do construction during the summer and we do snow plow is kind of to keep the equipment moving all year-round.,” said Manske.

Over at Ace Hardware in La Crosse, the shovels are flying off the shelf.

“People have kind of prepared for this a little earlier than when it hit. Probably about Monday is when people started coming in and getting prepared for the first real big storm this year,” said store manager Dave O’Mara.

O’Mara said around 100 shovels had been put out on Wednesday. By Thursday, only 30 or so were left.

“The warm spell we had earlier in the year didn’t help sales of snow blowers but now they’ve really picked up and that’s good to see,” said O’mara.

As people take out their snow blowers for the first time in a year, O’mara told us Ace Hardware’s repair department has been kept busy.

“We had a rush with everybody trying to get their snow blowers in and serviced and ready to roll and again people with problems with their snow blowers are bringing them in.,” said O’mara.

The city street department says a small crew of snow plows will be out late at night to make sure the streets are well swept. The assistant superintendent of streets says to follow the alternate parking rules so that plows can get those sides of the streets cleaned up.


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