When it snows, Dan Albrecht makes money.
But the St. Paul business owner, who earns a living removing snow, is groaning — along with a lot of Minnesotans — about yet another looming winter storm.
“Snow is good money, but we’re ready to transition into summer work,” said Albrecht, who owns Village Lawn Service. “Snow work is really hard. Lots of people don’t want to get out and shovel anymore. I’m worn out.”
Last week’s snowstorm covered the cities in hard slush. “It was horrible,” he said. “I’m still sore from it.”
Sunday’s storm is expected to bring an inch or 2 of snow in parts of the Twin Cities and 3 to 6 inches from Morris to Albert Lea. Snowfall will begin about the same time the Twins and Mariners are scheduled to walk out onto Target Field. They, like Albrecht, hope the forecast changes.
Other Minnesotans reacted to yet another April snowstorm by posting their frustrations online, including memes of face plants and a Hulk temper tantrum on the National Weather Service’s Twin Cities Facebook page.
Some homeowners have chucked their snow shovels, parked their snowblowers and are looking to the strengthening rays of an April sun to melt what spring snowstorms deliver. You can see evidence on suburban driveways, where tire tracks crisscrossing unshoveled snow reflect a defiance that wasn’t there in January, when homeowners revved up snowblowers with every storm and shoveled walkways dry.
That kind of winter weariness comes with a risk for residents in Minneapolis and St. Paul, where city ordinances require homeowners to clear sidewalks of snow and ice within 24 hours.
St. Paul received about 235 complaints about snow-covered sidewalks after last week’s storm, compared to 391 complaints after a snowy bout in February, said Laurie Brickley, spokeswoman for the city’s Department of Safety and Inspections.
“If you didn’t shovel [after that storm], you’re probably still covered in snow,” said Chris Blazina, owner of Worry Free Lawn and Snow Plowing in Minneapolis.
Like Albrecht, Blazina said his clients contract with him for five months of winter — November through March. After that, some dig out their own shovels, while others pay Blazina on an as-needed basis.
He figures he’ll be moving more snow on Monday morning, but expects the sun and above-freezing temperatures to give an assist.
“To be honest, I have a bunch of friends who do the same work, and none of us want it to snow in April,” Blazina said. “I’m absolutely sick of it. I was sick of it a month ago.”
The winter work is far more taxing than summer yardwork, he and others say. It’s unpredictable, and more stressful because snow-clearing has to be done immediately. “We’re basically on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” he said, pointing out that winter getaways, even for a weekend, are impossible. “It’s a thankless job.”
“We want to get on to summer just like everyone else,” Blazina said. “Once the temperatures turn and spring gets going, the grass will grow fast.”
And the longer winter means less time for spring yard cleanups, which will include picking up fall leaves and downed branches buried by snow, he said.
Public works crews throughout the metro are awaiting the moment when they can switch from snowplowing to spring street sweeping. Minneapolis has already rescheduled the start of its spring sweep from April 17 to April 24. St. Paul officials will wait and see whether they have to delay their April 16 start by a week.
Jacob Beitlich, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Chanhassen, would like to say that Sunday’s snowstorm will be the last this season. But, of course, he can’t. “Not the way this spring has gone,” he said.
He and other meteorologists are keeping an eye on a system that has the potential to bring either snow or rain next weekend, depending on the temperatures.
In the meantime, there will be a little whiff of spring. Monday’s temperatures in the metro area should hit the upper 30s, and by Wednesday, the mid-40s, Beitlich said.
“What we always like to say is that by the end of the month, our normal high is around 65 degrees,” he said. “Spring is going to come eventually.”