Fargo-Moorhead area struggles with where to put all the snow
Depending on how one looks at it, Brad Beiseker picked either a very good weekend or a very bad weekend to leave town. The 37-year-old Microsoft employee left Fargo for the Twin Cities on Thursday before a double shot of blizzard buried the metro...
Depending on how one looks at it, Brad Beiseker picked either a very good weekend or a very bad weekend to leave town.
The 37-year-old Microsoft employee left Fargo for the Twin Cities on Thursday before a double shot of blizzard buried the metro area in snow.
He returned Monday morning to a drift 5 feet high and 10 feet wide blocking his half of the driveway at his twinhome in southwest Fargo's windswept Osgood neighborhood.
By the time he cleared his side of the driveway and started blowing a path to his mailbox, he didn't have to worry about accidentally blowing snow into his neighbors' driveways. The 7 to 8 feet of white stuff on either side of the driveway made sure of that.
"There's really no place" to put the snow, he said. "Just go higher, I guess."
Where to put the snow is a conundrum for homeowners, cities and commercial haulers alike as they continue to dig out from a two-part blizzard that dumped 10 inches on Fargo from Thursday to Saturday and whipped up towering snowdrifts.
Laura Dollinger awoke Saturday morning and found a drift about half a foot taller than her 5-foot-5-inch frame blockading her garage near south Fargo's Bennett Elementary.
High winds forced snow through the cracks around the north-facing garage door, plastering the inside with a drift 2 to 3 feet high.
A friend who had access to a skid-steer loader with a blower on the front blew the drift into her yard, adding to a mountainous snowpile that now stands about 15 feet tall, much to the delight of Dollinger's 4-year-old daughter.
"We can go quite a ways on the saucer," she said.
Meanwhile, commercial snow-removal outfits were running out of room to pile snow at their job sites.
"A lot of places we're doing, they're calling today and they need it hauled away," said George Sholy, president of S & S Landscaping Co. Inc. in south Fargo.
The company deposits loads of snow on a vacant lot not far from its Fiechtner Drive headquarters.
"We've got a whole acre of snow piled 13 feet high ... and we're not done," Sholy said.
At PRACS Institute/Cetero Research in southwest Fargo, Chris Bolton of Bolton Enterprises wasn't complaining about the snow - it's good for business, after all - but said he found it to be "pretty overwhelming."
"Our piles are bigger than they ever have been," he said. "It's harder to push because the ground underneath was coated with ice before all this snow. And so it's been just a big challenge, and now we're just scrambling, sanding everything and hauling piles away."
Towing businesses that stayed busy pulling stuck and damaged vehicles from roads last weekend were dealing with the storm's aftermath, towing cars with dead batteries and iced-up engines, helping owners recover their cars from impound lots and using winches to liberate cars that couldn't break free from the blizzard's snowy grip.
"It's not really slowed down at all," said Samantha Nedrebo, office manager at MTW Towing in West Fargo. The company had towed about 90 vehicles since Thursday - roughly triple its normal workload, she said.
After opening the last of their clogged streets Sunday and Monday, F-M city governments turned their focus to widening main roads by plowing and blowing snow and hauling it away to city snow dumps.
Many street corners are piled dangerously high with snow, forcing drivers to inch into intersections to look for cross traffic. Moorhead Operations Director Chad Martin and Fargo Public Works Director Ben Dow both said it could be two weeks before crews start cutting down corners in residential areas to improve lines of sight.
For now, the priority is plowing and blowing snow along thoroughfares to reopen all lanes of traffic.
"It's going to be a long and steady process," Dow said.
Fargo crews are running 12-hour shifts around the clock, as night crews haul snow away from downtown and widen main roads and daytime crews try to open 34 miles of city-maintained sidewalks, Dow said.
Out in Osgood, Beiseker's sidewalk was buried under snow more than twice as tall as his snowblower. And, with no place to put the snow, the sidewalk will probably remain out of sight for a while, he said.
"There's a lot of winter left, too," he mused. "That's the scary part."
The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead and the Herald are owned by Forum Communications Co.