Mother Nature Forcing Snow Plow Drivers Into Exhaustion

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  The Iowa Department of Transportation had 285 trucks on roadways on Tuesday, but their plows weren't alone. The city of Des Moines also deployed 100 pieces of equipment, and countless private contractors worked around the clock clearing snow from driveways, alleys, and parking lots.

"From 11:35 yesterday morning until about 1:30 a.m., so almost a 14-hour day. There's points where you are so exhausted that you can hardly keep your eyes open. You've got to go to Quik Trip and get another coffee and maybe Mountain Dew and get your second wind," said private contractor Buddy Hoffman, who was clearing a parking lot along 18th and Grand Avenue on Tuesday night.

Hoffman says this winter is a stark contrast to last winter, which had little demand due to milder weather.  He said on Monday night, after his 14-hour shift, plowing his parents driveway, and his own, he did not get to bed until 3 a.m. with his alarm set for 10 a.m. Despite the physical strain on snow plow workers, Hoffman said he sees a lot of good come out of it.

"When you don't plow, they can't go anywhere, so it's nice to make the driveways and parking lots clear for people so they can get going where they need to go," he said. "Des Moines is a good city and a lot of good people are in this town, and there's always somebody helping someone out."