Sincerely, City Hall

Apr 22

[ARCHIVED] An historic response to an historic storm

The original item was published from April 23, 2022 to April 22, 2022 10:15 AM

What do you do when you’re confronted with an historic snow storm? You respond in historic fashion.

In some ways, the recent storms that dumped roughly 48 inches of snow on Minot felt like some of the great heavyweight battles in history. Ali vs. Frazier. Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant. Rocky Balboa vs. Apollo Creed/Clubber Lang/Ivan Drago.

But unlike some of those clashes, we all knew who was going to win the battle of Mother Nature vs. the City of Minot. We knew it would be a knock-down, drag-out fight to the finish. We took some haymakers from an apparently angry Mother Nature, but we got back up. Eventually, we’ll win this fight.

We knew this battle would involve City of Minot employees from almost every department, including everyone at Public Works, the Fire Department, the Police Department, the City Manager’s office, the Public Information Office, and countless others. Everyone contributed to moving mountains of snow to at least maintain access for emergency situations during the worst of the storm, while also moving mountains of information to keep Minot residents as up-to-date as possible before, during, and after the storm.

We know we’re not done yet – not even close. Making roads passable was one thing; widening those roads to accommodate normal traffic volumes is a task of enormous proportions. It isn’t simple to remove 46 inches of snow. We’ve been working on it all week, and we’ll keep working on it as long as necessary.

Our crews’ response to this historic spring storm was nothing short of monumental. Public Works employees have been working around the clock in 12-hour shifts to not only open streets to traffic, but to make sure emergency first responders are able to reach those in need. Calls to the Police and Fire departments don’t stop just because it’s snowing outside. And as amazing as those two departments are, even they need a little help now and then getting through massive amounts of snow to reach those who may be in distress.

That help came from our Public Works crews. Day and night, our crews traded blows with Mother Nature, neither one willing to give an inch or retreat. Sure, there are times when nature simply can’t be stopped, such as keeping the far north section of 16th Street Northwest clean during a blizzard. In those instances, our crews fight a tactical battle. Go ahead, Mother Nature, pack 16th Street with snow with your 50 miles per hour winds. We’ll just wait until you’re done, and then move the snow and open the road.

The work to return our city streets to a somewhat normal state continued all this past week – 48 inches of snow doesn’t move itself. And while our crews and the contractors we hired have done much of the heavy lifting, the members of our community have shouldered a considerable amount of this snowy burden, too.

All across Minot, neighbors banded together to clear each other’s driveways, cul-de-sacs or streets when necessary. Strangers stopped to help someone stuck and in need of a push. Requests on social media for assistance – whether it was for groceries or diapers or asking someone to check on a friend or family member – were almost always quickly fulfilled. Members of the community provided rides for those who needed to get somewhere, with no expectation of being reimbursed. Some used snowmobiles, tractors, and other vehicles to help hospital workers get to and from work.

Was anyone surprised by this type of response from Minot? Absolutely not. It’s who we are, not just as Minot residents, but as North Dakotans. For those who are new to our community, yes, this is the true Minot. I’ve said it a thousand times – Minot takes care of its own. The historic storm of April 2022 is just another example that proves that statement right.

No one wants to experience spring storms that dump 48 inches of snow on our community. But it’s comforting to know that if something like this happens again, Minot and its residents will react the same way. By helping each other, looking out for our neighbors, and by having a good sense of humor about the whole thing. If nothing else, we all have a few more stories to tell our kids and grandkids some day when we remember the storm of April 2022.

Sincerely, City Hall

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