Are you kidding me? Minus 11º degrees?
The Vandalia area was forced to think warm thoughts earlier this week when near record temperatures hit double digits below zero degrees mixed with a few inches of snow.
Early Monday morning, temperature gauges in town were showing -11º degrees and a few inches of snow caused many businesses to close its doors for the first day of the week. Van-Far, Community R-VI, and St. Joseph School Districts were suppose to reopen after their Christmas break on Monday. Instead, all three canceled school for the first two days of this week.
Basketball games in the Madison tournament for both Van-Far and Community R-VI were postponed. Monday’s games were moved to Wednesday
Dayne’s Waste Disposal moved it’s normally scheduled trash pickup days of Tuesday and Friday to Wednesday and Saturday.
Meanwhile on Monday, MoDOT at one time called Highway 54/19 “covered” on its online map, encouraging motorists to stay off the snow covered road due to snow drifts.
Battling the cold and the snow were the City of Vandalia’s Street Department.
Being conscious of a law limiting hours on the road, Street Department Superintendent David Hamby had his crew of five start their battle at noon on Sunday using trucks and tractors.
The crew worked through the evening before going back out at 4 a.m. Monday and fighting conditions through 4 p.m.
“The depth of the snow wasn’t so bad, it was the drifting,” Hamby said.
Hamby said it was so cold that the city’s sanding equipment wouldn’t work. Crew members pulled equipment into their heated building to thaw it out before using it Monday afternoon.
He said all the snow removal equipment was being kept in a heated garage so it would be warm and ready to use. He noted that it was so cold it wouldn’t operate correctly.
“The severe wind and the cold has been our worst enemy,” he added. “…The biggest thing is engines and hydraulics don’t want to work when it gets that cold.”
Hamby added that the north side of the town experienced the worst drifting, with Missouri St. and Arlington Ave. being some of the toughest areas to deal with.
City crews are using the beet juice and salt mix, which is effective when temperatures hit below zero, with of course, a little assistance from the sun during the day time.
“We got off what we could get,” Hamby said. “…There’s still a pretty good coating on there. Hopefully it will get warm the next few days and we can treat these roads to get it to break up.”
Many compliments could be found on the web for the work done in Farber by Bill Stubblefield. Some even said Farber’s roads were better than those in Mexico.