Look! Moving Last Night's Heavy Snowfall

Look! Moving Last Night's Heavy Snowfall

Regina Yunghans
Feb 19, 2009

Wow, we here in Montreal had a heavy snowfall last night, and it's still going strong today. Deep into the winter, I'm beginning to get a grasp of the enormous snow removal efforts after a city snowfall. Each new and beautiful blanket of snow means a lot of removal activity on the streets below. I can witness the process from my apartment's front window...

First, nagging tow trucks parole the streets, blaring a distinct, repetitive honking alarm. This is to rouse people from their homes out onto the streets to move their cars. If they aren't moved, they are towed.

Right on the heels of the tow trucks, giant plows move all of the snow to the center of the street. This creates a narrow, continuous, 6-foot-tall linear pile of snow that stretches the full length of the street. The plows that do this look, from my apartment's vantage point, like giant yellow grasshoppers.

Next, a fleet of rumbling dump trucks lines up at the end of the street, ready to carry the snow away. One by one, each truck pairs with a snow-blowing truck. Together the two heavy machines move slowly down the street, side by side. The blower fills one dump truck within about a quarter of a block. The full dump truck drives away and the next in waiting pulls up aside the blower and they continue on down the block. Dump truck after dump truck is filled with snow that is carted out of the city.

The whole ordeal generally lasts about an hour on my block. Sure, it's loud and disruptive. But, for a first-timer in Montreal, it's a form of home entertainment, too.

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