As we start the month of March, we do so with the knowledge that the official start of spring occurs in just a couple weeks. With that comes warmer temperatures, less snow and ice, and more favorable conditions for truck drivers. We’re sure all our drivers are looking forward to the onset of spring.
Unfortunately, there is a ‘but’ that comes with the knowledge this spring is on its way:
- spring is not yet here; and
- late winter and early spring storms can be extremely dangerous for truck drivers.
C.R. England encourages truck drivers to remember that while spring is quickly approaching, we are not out of the winter woods yet. Now is not the time to let down your guard. It is the time to remember that winter storms can still blow up quickly, even if the weather appears to be very good in the short-term forecast.
A Look at Some of the Worst Storms
Truck drivers with decades of experience know how treacherous late winter and early spring storms can be. For example, CDL jobs in Utah, Nevada, and Colorado take drivers through steep mountain passes that can be snow-covered well into late spring and early summer. Drivers who frequent the Plains states are also familiar with how quickly storms can spring up.
How difficult is the weather in late winter and early spring? Here is a sampling of some severe storms that occurred in late winter or early spring, as listed by TIME Magazine and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources:
- Blizzard of 1888 – The blizzard of 1888 occurred in early March and completely overwhelmed the Northeast. TIME reports that some cities were hit with as much is 50 inches of snow. Imagine what that must have been like without snow plows and salt trucks.
- Blizzard of 1941 – Mid-March, 1941 is when a terrible blizzard hit the upper Midwest with devastating winds and snow. Grand Forks, North Dakota saw winds of 85 mph along with a considerable amount of snow. The storm caused some 32 deaths and was responsible for motivating the National Weather Service to refine how they forecast winter storms.
- Twin Blizzards of 1975 – Two blizzards blew through the upper Midwest in late March Winds as high as 100 mph were registered in Minnesota while the Lake Superior shoreline sustained damage from 20-foot waves. In both storms, more than a foot of snow fell.
- Blizzard of 1978 – Another storm to hit the Northeast, this one brought hurricane-force winds of up to 90 mph to much of New England. Snow was measured in feet rather than inches, and roads were virtually impassable for days.
- 1993 Superstorm – The Superstorm of 1993 was a mid-March storm that TIME says killed some 300 people. New York City alone received 40 inches of snow.
- Groundhog Day Blizzard – On the first two days of February 2011, the Midwest and Northeast were hammered by a blizzard that generated states of emergency all along the storm’s path. Some locations received up to 2 feet of snow along with high winds that led to white-out conditions.
As you can see, old man winter does not necessarily pay attention to the turn of the calendar. When he’s ready to blow up a winter storm, he will do just that. Please keep this in mind as you travel the nation’s highways and byways over the next few weeks. Spring is most certainly on the way, but winter is not ready to take a vacation quite yet.
- TIME Magazine – http://time.com/3583572/worst-winter-snow-storm/
- DNR – http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/climate/summaries_and_publications/winter_storms.html