MnDOT plows warmed up, ready to roll as snow sales soar

MnDOT plows warmed up, ready to roll as snow sales soar

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Snow falling 11/5/2013 in Granite Falls, Minn. Snow falling 11/5/2013 in Granite Falls, Minn.

With a Winter Weather Advisory over much of the metro area, the Minnesota Department of Transportation says its fleet of plows are loaded up and ready to roll out.

"It's a lot of work leading up to snow season," said plow driver Brad Thayer. "There is a lot of equipment we have to prepare -- and get training for the personnel as well."

By Tuesday afternoon, the exact type and amount of precipitation metro commuters can expect was still up in the air, but plow operators say even with the unpredictable forecast, they'll be fine as long as drivers are patient and give them room to work.

"The biggest challenge is the general public," Thayer admitted.

Before 5 p.m., the embedded temperature sensors in pavement across the metro were still giving readings in the 40s and 50s, which means any snow that falls will melt, but a full core of MnDOT crews will be on the job after midnight, which is when the heaviest snow is expected.

Meanwhile, plenty of businesses are advertising to let customers know they're stocked up for snowfall.

"People have been buying actually for the past couple of days. People actually have been coming in and putting their heads down," Jim Lee, of Frattallone's Ace Hardware in St. Louis Park, told Fox 9 News. "I had one guy who came in last night with his head down and I said, 'Can I help you?' He said, 'No, I'm looking for shovels. I don't' want to, but I've got to because it's going to snow tomorrow.'"

Motorists are also swapping out their tired treads for new snow wheels and buying up fresh batteries before winter arrives in force.

"Right about when the first snowflakes fall is when we get really busy," said Angelo Arena, of Youngstedt's Goodyear in Eden Prairie. "You get some of the people who pre-plan for it. They know it's Minnesota and it's going to snow, and then you get the people who actually wait for the snowflakes to hit the ground and come in the mad rush."

With preparations made and in progress, most Minnesotans are resigned -- if not happy -- to welcome the white flakes and all of the interactions they bring.

"It gives us a sense of accomplishment when we're out there clearing the road for the general public," Thayer said. "The thumbs up are always nice to see, and the pats on the back for getting it done."

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