MARATHON COUNTY (WAOW)-- The snow has started to fall in Marathon County, but highway and tow truck crews were busy preparing long before the storm hit. Both told Newsline 9 that much of the job is waiting-- to see how much snow falls and where.
"It usually is a lot of cars in the ditch, bouncing off guard rails etc.," said tow truck driver Sheldon Baumann. He's been in the business for 20 years and said he's ready for whatever mother nature throws at him.
But for Baumann, less snow is better for business.
"We find if we get six, seven inches we don't get as many calls as if you get only one or two," he said. That's because people tend to stay off the roads when higher accumulations are predicted.
But it's the exact opposite for snow plow drivers. The more snow, the harder they have to work to clear the roads.
"Anytime that we have snowfall that covers the entire county we roll 36 trucks. That's how many it takes to cover the state and county roads in the county," said Operations Manager for the Marathon County Highway Department Dan Raczkowski.
It's been a slow year for plow drivers. The mild winter means the county has plenty of salt and sand. "We've had managed to save some money on equipment and labor costs and on the amount of salt used," said Raczkowski.
In schools, officials had their eyes on the weather forecast all day, even changing some event times to adjust for the snow.
"We found that indeed many of the schools were changing to six o'clock for safety of the fans at the games," said Newman Catholic Athletic Director Dale Thoreson.
Newman Catholic was just one of dozens of schools across the state that moved up the time of WIAA boys basketball playoff games tonight. Instead of a seven o'clock start time, they tipped off at six to keep fans safe. "Everyone should make it out to the game safely tonight and get home safely as well," said Thoreson.
Now that snow has blanketed the county, safety is especially important. Plow drivers and other crews said they're ready.
"We always try to be ready for anything that comes along," said Raczkowski.