Spring snow causes headaches in Waukesha County

Posted at 5:54 PM, Apr 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-17 19:26:04-04

This week's snowfall is putting extra stress on area plow companies. 

At Ground Crew Service in Brookfield, owner Michael Stavropoulos said workers spent time over the weekend preparing snow blowers and trucks for yet another winter storm. That included reinstalling plows on the vehicles. 

"It's almost an entire day of just swapping equipment," Stavropoulos said. 

"We totally thought we were done with the snow," he also said. 

His company, which also performs landscaping work, will have about 20 people out working on snow removal should fresh powder fall as expected on Wednesday. 

Ground Crew Service typically buys salt in bulk. But Stavropoulos said ordering another 22-ton shipment of salt, which is the bulk-buying requirement, wasn't practical at this time of the year. 

"You really don't want 22 tons of salt hanging around if it doesn't snow. You want to be able to make room for your mulch, and stone, and soil," he said.

So he's instead been buying salt by the bag. It's just as effective, but pricier and harder to load into the company's fleet of trucks. 

"It's more labor," Stavropoulos said. "Instead of taking a loader and putting a one-ton scoop into the back of a big, v-box salter, you have to go through one-by-one, opening every bag."

Even after the snow melts, Stavropoulos added the company can't really ramp up its landscaping work until the ground dries out. 

The snow has also caused all outdoor athletic practices to be moved indoors at Waukesha South High School. Teams usually begin practicing outside as much as possible at the beginning of April. 

Athletic Director Todd Sobrilsky said student-athletes are instead taking turns, team-by-team, practicing inside of the school's field house. 

"We've already built a schedule for the next two weeks, with who gets the field house at what times," he said. 

Sobrilsky said all games and matches in sports like tennis, softball, track and soccer have been canceled due to the weather. 

He estimated the number of canceled games now sits at more than 20 when you factor in freshman and junior varsity contests. 

"We're pretty well shut down through the end of the week and into next week already," Sobrilsky said. 

He said sports that play on artificial turf, like soccer, may be able to resume sooner. Although the school's turf field is currently covered by a sheet of ice. 

Sobrilsky said the grass fields will likely remain off limits for several days after the snow finally melts. 

"The snow melts and fields become squishy messes," he said. 

"If we turn the teams loose on those fields while they're squishy messes, within a day or two there's no grass left at all," Sobrilsky said. "We're left with just mud." 

The school is already working on rescheduling the canceled games and matches.