Yesterday was a doozy. Philadephia and much of Eastern and Central PA received an rare, massive early season snow. Our customers in Philadelphia and SE Montgomery County expected to receive a coating up to an inch in places. This was to be followed up by an even longer period of sleet and freezing rain, and then washed away by a long rain. Ha! Instead, we saw heavy snow intermixed with smaller periods of sleet and pellets. Area total snowfall estimates were upgraded to 1″-4″ and later again to 3″-7″. The airport ended up receiving 3.6″, and nearly every other location outside the city saw over 4″.
And this was supposed to be an easy day! Testing our systems, verifying customer data in our tracking systems, and getting a handful of key employees back into the winter swing of things. A handful of crews were out by 7am taking preventative measures, applying salt at some critical healthcare facilities. Back at the office, others were hard at work double-checking jobsite files in the system.
By noon, the situation had changed. Snow came down in droves, and more importantly, low surface temps had enabled it to stick. This continued for hours. Businesses and schools were in early dismissal mode, and roadways quickly clogged with stuck vehicles. Mass transit was a mess, stranding travelers all over.
Besides a more accurate forecast (which couldn’t be helped – no meteorologist saw this coming), several things could have been better.
Due to low anticipated snowfall, many of our trucks didn’t have plows installed at first. Being that we run 100% Western Wide-Outs with a common mounting system, we didn’t have to figure out which plow went where. And thanks to Western’s easy-as-pie mount system, attaching plows took only a couple minutes at most per truck. As a result, we were able to react quickly to the changing conditions.
(This didn’t affect just us – we saw many other snow trucks without plows at first. Gradually nearly all got plows by the end of the day, even Philadelphia municipal trucks. The companies who recognized the changing weather were able to react quickly and got to go home early. The ones who didn’t, were still out pushing slush around in the early morning when we finished up and headed home.)
We also had some late or no-show employees, for the most part due to the traffic and roadway conditions. By 5pm, many of our regular foreman had still not made it in, and we were scrambling to get crews out. Fortunately, many of our junior guys were able to step up due to their past experience in previous years with us. Because we use a mobile app for site verification, creating a login and giving a quick demo of the system was all it took to supply a crew and send them out.
At Suburban, our annual turnover is among the industry’s lowest. Our crews are hard-working, resilient, and – most importantly – treated like family. We’re a knowledgeable bunch with three Advanced Snow Managers on staff. We take great pride and dedication in our work, and we get the job done right, the first time.
How’s your snow removal service treating you? Are they able to react to the unexpected, including early season snow? Do you even have a reputable business you can rely on year after year? Give us a call at 1-866-600-PLOW or request a proposal today!