News | Jan. 31, 2019

A cold day in New York

By Ken MacNevin DLA Disposition Services

The Polar Vortex managed to pull off a stunt at a DLA Disposition Services site in New York state that is very rarely successful.

The conditions that came with the vortex closed the site at Fort Drum. Other DLA Disposition Services’ sites across its path also had early departure, late arrivals or were closed.

But Drum is usually open for business under winter conditions that would close most other bases, which is why one employee was still out at dawn using a vehicle mounted snow blower to clear a truck scale.

Disposal Service Representative Rob De Long said that’s what he was doing recently on a day when it wasn’t bad enough to keep traffic away from his site. Using a Bobcat UTV with a snow blower attachment, he went after the two feet of snow on the ground from Jan. 22 to the clear the truck scale.

“I special ordered this machine just for the scale,” De Long said. “We have to get the snow away from the load cells, for it to work properly.”

By Jan. 28 De Long said it did warm up, but he noted the site received “ three feet of snow over the weekend -- foot or more coming tomorrow -- with another 2-3 feet by Friday.”


But anyone in any of the Defense Logistics Agency’s sites in the “lower 48 states” should remember there are those folks farther north in Alaska. For them, the Polar Vortex is their next door neighbor.

In December 2016 Kathy Wigginton from the Fairbanks, Alaska,  site wrote about the realities of work up where the conditions just encountered in the lower states occur all winter.

 “Half the day is worked in the dark because the sun doesn't come up until 10:30 a.m. and starts to go down again at 3 p.m.

“It takes extra care and caution to operate machinery in the dark. “

“if you throw a cup of water or coffee out, it will freeze before it hits the ground.

“If you leave the roll up doors open too long, the water in the eye wash station will begin to freeze.

“Forklifts and loaders do not stop on a dime when the ground is ice.

“When breakup starts the ice build-up melts at different degrees and spaces so it often feels like driving on egg crates.

 “The base may have delayed arrival or early release if there is a white out but it is rare to have a closure due to snow accumulation.

“Our weathermen have only started to call our winds hurricane force winds (70 mph). They've just been gusty winds in the past. We had strong winds when it was blowing 104 mph.”

All weather is local.  All weather is relative.