‘It’s scary’: Behind the wheel of a snowplow in near whiteout conditions

Published: Dec. 27, 2021 at 6:19 PM CST
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WEST FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - Crews across the way are working around the clock to clear roads. One West Fargo snowplow driver said she hasn’t seen conditions this bad in years.

Breanna Gronaas, a worker with the West Fargo forestry department spent December 27 clocked in as a snowplow driver.

“This has been most of the day,” Gronaas said as snow covered the windshield, “not being able to see at all.”

She said she gets called in to plow when roads require several days to clear.

“To give the guys a break that have been plowing for days,” explained Gronaas.

While no travel advisories were issues and families stayed home, she was up clearing roads bright and early.

“I have a 5-year-old, she said, “I dropped my daughter off at my mom’s so I can come in at 4 a.m. because daycare is closed.”

Gronaas’ day consists of plowing and re-plowing emergency snow routes in near whiteout conditions, and periodically having to fix the frozen windshield wipers.

“It will be 12-hour shifts for the foreseeable future when it snows like this,” she explained.

She said a key indicator of just how bad the storm has been, I-94 closing in West Fargo.

“I’ve seen it close outside of town, like Casselton, but not Sheyenne street… it’s pretty bad,” she said.

Gronaas explained traffic had been light in town, which gives her and the crews space to get the job done. However, she has seen many cars without their headlights on.

“We’re just trying to keep the roads open for everybody to get everywhere safe… especially emergency personnel,” explained Gronaas.

Minnesota officials said more than 350 cars lost control and drove off the road, West Fargo police say there were too many cars to count.

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