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Drake facilities vs. winter 2011

Photo: Connor McCourtney

Drake facilities
Grounds Manager Jeff Bosworth and his 11 full-time grounds workers often arrive at campus by 3 or 4 a.m. to begin cleaning up the snow, and the work takes all day. “It could be after eight hours, or we could have to work for 12 or more,” Bosworth said. “It depends on how much snow we’ve got.”


Winter 2011
The Farmer’s Almanac calls the last week of January “unsettled, blustery.” It predicts a possible 14 inches for the Northern Plains of the U.S. during the first week of February, clearing around the third.
Drake facilities
The crew is responsible for keeping 20 acres of parking lots and 12.5 miles of sidewalks clear of snow and ice.
Winter 2011
The National Climatic Data Center records the average January temperature in Iowa at 20.4 degrees Fahrenheit. In February, it’s 26.6 and March registers at a balmy 38.4.
Drake facilities
The facilities department equipment includes Kubota lawn tractors, bobcat skid loaders with blades attached to the front, Toro lawn tractors, pickup trucks, snow blowers and a lot of schovels.
Winter 2011
“Yet another round of stormy weather” during the week of Feb. 24, according to the Farmer’s Almanac.
Drake facilities
When a storm brings more than two inches of snow, a private contractor with more trucks helps clear campus parking lots. The custodial staff also assists with clearing the entrances to buildings, while the grounds crew does sidewalks and outlying steps.
Winter 2011
According to the National Climatic Data Center, the snowiest Iowa winter on record was 1961-1962, when the statewide average was 59 inches of snowfall. The winter with the least snow statewide was 1965-1966 with just 11.9 inches.
Drake facilities
Bosworth says he doesn’t put much stock in meteorologists’ predictions. “They forecast seven days out, but by the time it actually happens, it’s changed half a dozen times.”
Winter 2011
Wu says he expects a slightly warmer winter resulting from El Niño, a climate pattern occuring across the Pacific Ocean. However, he says El Niño also makes the weather more difficult to predict and that “nobody can say 100 percent sure” what day-to-day occurences will be.
Drake facilities
“Just thinking about what we’ve used so far, we could use close to 20 tons of salt this year including sidewalks and parking lots,” Bosworth says. That’s more than the weight of 15 Honda Civics.
Winter 2011
In an average year, Iowa loses about 1.4 percent of its corn crop and 4.5 percent of its soybean crop to hail damage.

Drake facilities
There are the equivalent of 300 sets of household steps that must be clear by hand at the Knapp Center.

Drake facilities
Bosworth says his crew works hard, but he wants to make sure students, faculty and staff are doing what they can to keep themselves safe, too. “We’re trying to get it cleaned up as fast as we can, but it’s hard to be everywhere at once.”

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