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Plow crews prepare for expected snowstorm

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(FOX 47) -- With the weather remaining unpredictable snow plow crews across the region are preparing for several scenarios.

"Things, as with everything, they change. Really the key is to keep communicating with each other," said Albert Lea City Engineer Steven Jahnke.

"We have a small window to get it cleaned up and get the roads back in shape," said MnDOT Austin Subarea Supervisor.

Albert Lea will have two groups of workers clearing the roads nonstop in 12 hour shifts."They are out there in extreme situations. They've probably been out there for a long time, so just be careful," said Jahnke. "They do a good job."

Keeping the roads clear is one priority, but efficiency is another. "We're not just going to have the plows constantly plowing all the streets. We do have a method to how we do things," said Jahnke.

Plow crews are also more aware about overusing salt. To help avoid that, the trucks now have radar and software that guides the drivers how much to put down. "They'll type in the weather conditions, snow or wind, and it'll give them a recommendation as to what to use for material," said Crews.

Jahnke added, "Everybody is trying to use less salt but yet it's critical to put down enough salt so that it's safe for people to get around and drive."

Sometimes, extreme cold can force crews to use another de-icing agent, known as beet heat. Crews says MnDOT could start using it Sunday if the temperature remains low and there's still ice on the roads.

Crews and Jahnke are urging people to stay off the roads unless it's absolutely necessary and to be extra careful around the plows.

"With the wind and the snow, it's going to be visibility with this one. Give the plows room, stay back and watch the lights," said Crews.

Alex Tejada

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