Chill in the air

MARSHALL – Temperatures plunged to minus 19 degrees overnight to start the work week and remained as low as minus 10 on Monday afternoon.

Some of the first people who have to deal with the arctic air are paper carriers for the Independent.

Mike Rich of Marshall goes out with his son at 4 a.m. to deliver papers.

“We dress for it,” Rich said. “We didn’t have any problems with it; we were lucky there was no wind. At 4 a.m. it’s warmer than at 6.”

Rich said a route that takes a half-hour in the summer takes an hour and 10 minutes in the winter.

Ten-year-old Dori Linscott of Marshall starts her route at 5 a.m.

“Actually, it was good (Monday) morning because we laid out all our nice warm stuff,” Linscott said.

Linscott said she wore snow pants over jeans, a sweater under a heavy snow coat, thick gloves and snow boots. Her sisters, Abby and Katie, also deliver papers for the Independent.

For people getting up to go to work, the cold presented problems starting and driving.

“Our tow trucks can’t keep up,” said Doug Lutterman, a mechanic at Bruender’s Corner Mart in Tyler. “Cars won’t start, cars in the ditch. How do you prepare for this?”

If a car won’t start, Western Community Action Community Transport is an alternative for those who have to travel.

“We canceled the bus going out of the county this morning for fear of putting people at risk,” said dispatcher Ryan Linder. “But aside from that we’ve had full service with more people than usual because their cars wouldn’t start. There hasn’t been any change in town though.”

Tom Hey, owner of Southwest Coaches Inc. which runs both school buses and touring buses, said keeping the buses inside helps a lot. Even an unheated garage can be 30 degrees warmer than outside. And buses can be prepped for winter. Gov. Mark Dayton on Friday canceled schools Monday, but buses still have to be ready and maintained.

“We’ve gone to a winter anti-gel and fuel conditioner,” Hey said. “A lot of buses today have auxiliary heaters to keep the engine warm and get warm faster.”

And those who’ve delayed winter conditioning for their cars are always a boon for business when the bitter cold sets in.

“We’re selling out on tires, batteries, block heaters and engine drive belts,” said Jason Best, service manager at Graham Tire. “Come winter, hard pack snow builds up inside, makes it hard to start and tears the belts or makes them derail.”

Best recommends getting a block heater and keeping it plugged in at night to keep the engine warm.

“And check the windshield,” Best added. “Clean it good and make sure the wiper blades are free. When they get frozen they tear up the wipers and can make the wiper motor burn out.”