You wouldn’t think a snowfall less than two inches would be a very big deal.
So why does it keep Level Green Landscaping managers up all night, our crews on alert and everybody’s eagle eyes on multiple weather forecasts?
It’s no mystery to our snow manager, Greg Stacho.
He walks us through an hour by hour look at what happens behind the scenes to prepare for a snowfall of less than two inches — when most people are still deep in slumber.
First, The Night Before
Actually, our planning for the snow season starts months before, but for now, let’s focus on the night before our curious case begins.
When the weather forecast calls for snow — even less than two inches — we snap into action the day before.
Planning is everything.
Why is this less than shocking amount of snow a big deal?
While some of our customers sign contracts stating they don’t need our snow removal services unless it shows at least two inches, others have more pressing needs.
“Many of our clients have what we call “minimal tolerance,” Stacho says. “As long as flakes are falling from the sky, they want us there, even if it amounts to just half an inch.”
Please Stand By
If the forecast calls for an inch and a half of snow starting at 3 a.m., we want our snow removal crews to be rested, not waiting up all night for the phone to ring.
Snow removal crew members are told to get some rest and are given a start time to report in the morning.
“We need crews to come in,” Stacho says. “We can’t wait until we know if there’ll be two inches.”
We contact our minimal tolerance customers the night before, too, to inform them of our plan for their property.
“We don’t want to bother them at 2 a.m.” Stacho says. “All that is done by 9 p.m. the night before.”
Now, the Countdown
1 a.m.: On alert from the day before that snow is coming, Stacho checks the weather forecast.
It involves a lot more than tuning in to the TV news.
We have our own meteorologist we can call for the latest weather updates.
Stacho also monitors several online weather resources, using the same models and data meteorologists use.
All management staff have multiple computer screens tracking state highway administration traffic cameras that show in real time what’s happening out on the roads.
Stacho also monitors information from the state of Maryland’s ground sensors that tell how cold or warm the ground is.
That can help determine if the snow will or won’t stick or if the ground is the right temperature for ice melt products to be effective.
1:30: Our office opens. Mechanics report for duty.
Branch managers start coming in between now and 2 a.m. to monitor the weather and enact snow removal plans.
2 a.m.: Another weather check.
“The weather can change,” Stacho says. “Maybe forecasters thought it would start at 3, but now it won’t start until 5.”
If the storm is delayed, crews might be told to come in later. But traffic is always a concern, so crews may still come in at their original start time.
Stacho and the branch managers keep a close eye on the weather and the temperature of both the air and the ground.
It’s possible salting will be enough, and plows won’t be needed.
3 a.m.: If we’re still on track for accumulating snow, we call in snow removal crews who have been resting up for this job.
“We try to be as proactive as possible,” Stacho says.
4 a.m.: Crews are out treating the properties that have minimal tolerance, applying ice melt, plowing and shoveling.
Stacho calls 4 and 5 a.m. “battle zone hours.” Our goal is to get all critical properties clear before they open for the day.
6 a.m.: Our minimal tolerance customers can rest easy. Their lots, driveways and sidewalks are clear and they're safe to open for business.
On Alert for Re-Freeze
The sun might be out and the snow clear, but we’re not off duty.
Here in the DC and Maryland area, we get a lot of refreeze. If the temperature drops down to the 20s or low 30s at night, all those leftover puddles freeze.
Treating that new ice is essential to keep people from slipping.
We’re on it.
Why Less Than Two Inches is Tricky
Snowfall less than two inches is tricky, Stacho says.
Temperature is a big factor.
Snow might start to fall before dawn and stick, but then the sun comes out and it melts.
Or the precipitation could start as rain, then abruptly change to accumulating snow.
“It’s actually easier to plan for storms that are four to 10 inches,” Stacho says. “You know it’ll stick. You know you’ll need to plow.”
Keeping You Informed
You’ll always know our exact plan of attack.
We keep you updated throughout the day. Crews take photos of their progress with their cell phone cameras that account managers can forward to keep you posted.
And because we tell you, you have all the information you need to tell your tenants, customers, delivery people, employees and anyone else who needs communication updates.
Trust Your Snow Removal to Level Green
Whether the forecast calls for less than two inches of snow or more than two feet, we’ve got you covered.
Hour by hour, minute by minute, we’re monitoring the forecasts and the ground temperature, alerting our crews and updating our battle plan.
We’ll keep your commercial property safe and you in the know.
We offer this top-notch snow removal service to our year-round landscaping clients.
If you’re not already a Level Green Landscaping client, we’d love to add you to our growing list of happy customers. Our focus is on commercial properties like offices, mixed-use sites, HOAs, municipalities and institutions in Maryland, Washington DC and parts of Virginia.
Contact us at 202-544-0968. You can also request a free consultation online to meet with us one-on-one.
We’d love to hear from you.