Wednesday, April 16, 2014

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Keeping up with the snow
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As our region braces for part two of this messy winter storm, those who are able to are staying home. But there are others who, no matter how bad the weather, must report for duty. Our Janelle Burrell introduces us to one of them.

NEW YORK STATE --It's before noon and already it's been a hectic day for Rocco Ranucci.

"This is my third time out today with the storm since 4 a.m.," Ranucci said.

Ranucci is part of a fleet of DOT workers out on the major roadways across the region, keeping them clean and prepping for the second wave of messy weather.

"This is probably the biggest storm, for sure," he said.

And though he's a veteran at it, he says with each wintry mix, the main obstacle remains the same.

"Probably, our biggest challenge is dealing with the traveling public," Ranucci said.

Drivers who try to pass the plows.

"I can't really maneuver this the way you would a car, so you would think that a driver would back away a little bit and give us a wide berth, but some people don't really do that," Ranucci said. "Or respect it."

As Ranucci explains, there's a reason the plows travel at the speeds they do.

"If you go too fast and you put salt down, it just spreads all over the road. It doesn't have an effect on breaking up the hard packed snow," Ranucci said.

So when drivers try to speed up and go around them, "in this kind of situation and weather, you're probably bound to get in trouble. So it's my job, or part of it, to keep them out of harm's way," Ranucci said.

It's a long 12 hour shift and today, getting it done will mean working through lunch and when he's finally done, it'll almost be time to do it all over again.

"I'll be back I'm sure by 1:30 tonight. If the storm comes in as expected," Ranucci said. "Basically go home, rest up and get ready for what's coming."

Exhausting, but all in a day's work.

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