What is shaping up to be a very busy, snow-filled week for plow drivers started with a 12-hour shift for some.
Some drivers with the state Department of Transportation started their shifts about midnight Sunday and worked through most of the storm until they were relieved about noon Monday, said Greg Penny, department spokesman.
Though the second shift missed most of the snowfall, they, too, had their work cut out of them as they worked to keep roads clear of ice that was expected to form as the temperature dipped below the freezing mark Monday night.
"It's very likely they'll work until midnight unless they are released earlier," Penny said.
All told, York County saw a little over 5 inches of fresh snow Monday and more is expected to hit the county later this week, as early as tonight, according to AccuWeather.
Clearing roads: By Monday afternoon, PennDOT plow drivers had Interstate 83 open and were working to clear secondary roads, said Mike Martin, PennDOT's York County Maintenance Manager.
PennDOT used 74 plow trucks — 55 department-owned trucks and 19 rented ones — to take on the snow, he said.
Crews were expected to be back out by 4 a.m. Tuesday to make sure the roads were cleared for the morning commute, Penny said.
The public works crew in York City also had an early start on Monday as the storm loomed on the horizon.
Some of the department's 18 workers started their day between 1 and 2 a.m., while others started about 4 a.m., said Jim Gross, head of the city's public works.
With a small staff, he said, the workers go until the job is done.
"We're going through to about 10 (p.m.)," Gross said.
Gearing up: Just as Monday's storm was coming to an end, the National Weather Service issued a winter storm watch for the county. The forecast calls for a significant wintry mix, with 1 to 4 inches of snow followed by one-tenth to a half-inch of ice Tuesday night into Wednesday.
For plow drivers, that means little respite before it's once more unto the breach.
"(Tuesday) will be preparing for the next storm, which, for us, could be the worst of the two storms," Penny said.
That's because the expected ice will mean more labor-intensive shifts for the drivers, he said.
During the small window of snow-free weather on Tuesday, Martin said, crews will "do any repairing and preparations" that are needed before they are once again out on the roads.
They will also try to get as much rest as they can, said Gross, adding that equipment and supplies are holding up.
"It's a matter keeping bodies in the trucks," he said.
— Reach Greg Gross at firstname.lastname@example.org.