Plows struggle to keep roads clear as snow falls incessantly 

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An empty street covered with snow and tire tracks in it.

Cameryn Cass

Snow on snow: As soon as the plows would plow, the snow would cover the roads again. 

The sounds of birds chirping, shovels and snow blowers break up the unusual stillness brought on by this remarkable winter storm, the typical humdrum of traffic silenced as humans hibernate to avoid the weather. 

A few courageous souls brave the cold and the snow, either out of necessity, to shovel or get to work, or to play, sleds and snowballs in hand. 

“I love it,” said Erik Altnann, a psychology professor at Michigan State University. “It’s been a long time coming.” 

Altnann says he’s enjoying the shoveling and excuse to walk to the office today, avoiding the roads altogether. Plus, walking takes away the tricky task of trying to find parking on campus, he said. 

Sixty miles west in Kalamazoo, Mike Warren is one of the many plow truck drivers out today trying to make the roads a little safer, ultimately in vain. 

“Be patient with your plow guy. By the time we get done everything is covered up again and we just have to start over.” 

Mike Warren, plow guy

Warren has been out clearing commercial parking lots since 5 a.m. driving one of the three trucks out today for his business, Oasis Lawn Care. 

Warren expects to be out the rest of today and into tomorrow as the snow continues to fall. The National Weather Service expects the storm to last until 7 a.m. Thursday, with a total snow accumulation anywhere from 8 to 12 inches in South Central and Southwest Michigan.

“It’s not necessarily an abnormal storm,” he said. “But, usually we get snow in the evening and have all night long to plow.” 

This storm started early this morning, giving plow trucks little time to plow before people started getting up and going places, though a lot of people stocked up yesterday to avoid the weather, he said. 

Some people, such as college students, are unable to avoid driving in such conditions, Though a lot of classes were moved online or canceled altogether, Michigan State University remains open, and students are out on the roads trying to get to class. 

“The roads had enough snow that made it impossible not to slide,” said Julia Bove, an engineering student at Michigan State University. 

Bove had one class on campus and during her short time there, noticed the problem Warren highlighted: as soon as the plows would plow, the snow would cover the roads again. 

Regardless, the university stayed open and had classes in person. 

“I don’t think they’re planning to cancel classes or anything because of the weather, as far as I know,” Altnann said. “People don’t move to Michigan not expecting snow.” 

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