Crystal Ball

Posted by | snow removal, Trailer Snow Clearing, weather forecast | No Comments

Every year, readers from across the country look forward to the release of the Farmers’ Almanac’s winter weather prediction.  I’ve been known to grab a copy, or two, at my local grocer. This year, I decided to do some digging on the history behind this much loved publication and its weather forecasting abilities.  

The Farmers’ Almanac was first published in 1792 during President George Washington’s first term as President of the United States. It’s our country’s oldest continuously published periodical and is currently published by Peter Geiger, son of Ray Geiger who was the longest running editor.  What makes the Farmers’ Almanac special, beyond its history, witty prose and fun facts, is its weather predictions, which are created as far back as two year and cover a 16 month period.  

The Farmers’ Almanac’s forecaster is the well-recognized name but unknown individual Caleb Weatherbee (since Caleb is, of course, a pseudonym).  In this way, the publishers can keep secret the true forecaster’s identity to prevent her or him from being “badgered.”  Also kept on the low down is the publication’s weather model.  The Farmers’ Almanac states only that their forecasting method is an “exclusive mathematical and astronomical formula that relies on sunspot activity, tidal action, planetary position and many other factors.”  Leaving me to wonder, do they also own a crystal ball? 

While the publishers of the Farmers’ Almanac have historically boosted an 80 to 85% accuracy level in weather predictions, scientific studies of the much loved publication support a 50% accuracy rating.  I, however, recall many winters in which the Almanac nailed the forecast for my geographical area.  We are already experiencing some of its 2019-2020 season prediction as it unfolds in North America with early snowstorms in the mid-west and significant cold temperatures.  How many posted pictures did we see this Halloween of Chicago covered in a blanket of snow?  

“Get ready for shivers, snowflakes, and slush,” the publisher says of the 2019-2020 winter season. “Big chills and strong storms will bring heavy rain and sleet, not to mention piles of snow!”  

 “This could feel like the never-ending winter, particularly in the Midwest and east to the Ohio Valley and Appalachians, where wintery weather will last well into March and even through the first days of spring,” says Almanac editor Janice Stillman.  

The Farmers’ Almanac is not the only weather forecaster to believe Mother Natures has lots in store for us in North America this winter.  Frank Lombardo, CEO of WeatherWorks, a forecasting company I do follow closely, has similar predictions in his final report.  [For another interesting article by WeatherWorks on the earliest snowfalls in the Northeast see https://weatherworksinc.com/news/first-measurable-snow-in-the-northeast-11-5]

Mother Nature is certainly unpredictable and maybe that is why there is such an allure for the Farmers’ Almanac’s weather predictions.  In 1936, its editor Roger Scaife learned the hard way when he dropped the weather forecast from the publication.  Sales declined, readers revolted and the weather forecast was quickly reinstated the following year at the Almanac.  Perhaps Roger could have used a crystal ball that year to avoid his blunder.  

Visit to TrucBrush Client Bellavance Trucking

Posted by | fleet maintenance, snow removal, Transportation | No Comments

Bellavance Trucking is the proud owner of two TrucBrush units, one for each of their Vermont facilities. At their Barre, Vermont location they have the TrucBrush SD-19 which clears their lowest step decks, as well as their flatbed fleet and their tractor trailers. “In seconds, TrucBrush took not only the snow off the fleet roofs and beds but also ice that had bonded to the surface,” said Danny Driscoll of Bellavance Trucking. Bellavance Trucking purchased their first TrucBrush a couple of years ago. They were pleased with the TrucBrush’s performance, especially given the weather conditions in Vermont, so in 2018 they bought a second TrucBrush for their Barre facility.

Ice that was removed by Bellavance’s TrucBrush during our visit at their Barre, Vermont facility.

All the snow and icy debris is blown away from the lane of operation by TrucBrush. This allows a continuous clearing of their fleet regardless of truck height for faster fleet deployment. Vermont has certainly received its share of snowfall this winter and Bellavance Trucking is glad to have TrucBrush. They no longer use manual labor to clear their fleet. TrucBrush has the flexibility to clear significant snow accumulations.

Storm Stella barrels in

Posted by | Driver Safety, snow removal, Storm Stella | No Comments

Harrisburg_Storm_Stella_TrucBrushMarch 14th 2017 will be a day that many remember as Storm Stella hammered their community leaving a blanket of 2 feet of snow and covering up any signs of Spring.  These blizzard conditions for the mid-Atlantic and Northeast remind us that March is still a month when major snow accumulations can occur.  CNN reports that Stella has put 18 million under blizzard warning.  Held up in my hotel room in Harrisburg to avoid missing the Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association’s Safety Conference this week, I’m reminded too at how these snow events wreak havoc on all modes of transportation.  The airport in Boston as I left showed more ‘cancelled’ notices on the departing and arriving boards than I have seen in years.   Talking with a friend who works for a large freight company I hear about the crazy amounts of work for their employees to redirect parcels from truck to rail to any means that will prevent the inevitable slowdown of the 24/7 cargo hum. Then there are the truck drivers seeking safe parking spaces to wait out Storm Stella, but as we all know, those parking spaces are becoming fewer and fewer in these areas.  Only the municipal and snow service contractors’ plow trucks are out working hard to try to keep the main roadways clear. These unsung heroes of winter have a big challenge:  Storm Stella’s fast and fierce snow falling, which is impacting visibility and their ability to stay on top of the snow clearing.   At TrucBrush, we care about safety.  We hope that after Storm Stella moves offshore that everyone will remember the importance of clearing snow off their cars, trucks, trailers and buses to prevent roadway hazards days after Stella is just a March memory.   #driversafety #stormstella #transportation

In Terms of Snow

Posted by | fleet maintenance, snow removal | No Comments

Avid skiers know all the snow condition terminologies—corn snow, powder, packed powder, slush—so they will be prepared for what they are sliding on.  The same holds true for those of us who must follow weather forecasts to manage snow plowing or clearing snow off the tops of trucks and trailers.  Last week’s Nor’easter was described by those forecasting the approaching storm in many ways, but the term that stuck most in my mind was ‘Guerrilla Glue.’  Meteorologist Frank O’Laughlin used Guerrilla Glue in his forecast to describe a snow consistency that would be heavy and wet.  It would cling to trees and electrical lines and probably cause power outages.

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Snow and icy debris flying off trucks, trailers, buses and other vehicles in transit can cause damage and injury.

Wet heavy snow can also be a challenge for the transportation industry because it clings to the tops of vehicles.  When temperatures drop after it falls, as they did with this storm, the snow can become a crusty, icy, hard-packed mess.   This snow, when accumulating quickly, also adds to a trailer’s weight.   More importantly, it becomes a safety concern when it is not cleared from trucks, trailers and any passenger vehicle before transit.   In the aftermath of this recent heavy snow storm, we saw news stories across the Northeast of vehicles hit by flying snow and icy debris, as well as falling tree limbs which resulted in tragedy.

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TrucBrush at Pilot Flying J Travel Centers in Sturbridge MA and Milford CT will be available all winter.

This type of snow consistency, however, is effectively addressed by TrucBrush, a patented, mobile brush device that quickly clears heavy wet snow from the tops of trucks and trailers.  After this February storm, our clients reported that TrucBrush easily cleared the heavy snow from their trucks and trailers.  Even trailers which were not scheduled to leave terminals were cleared so that the heavy snow accumulation would not cause damage to the trailers due to excess weight.

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TrucBrush clears snow in approximately one minute from a tractor-trailer.

TrucBrush Services were also available in Connecticut and Massachusetts at Pilot Flying J Travel Centers #255 and #222 where truck drivers took advantage of having a quick, safe and effective means to remove the accumulated heavy snow from their trailers.  (Services at these two Pilot locations will continue to be available all this winter.)  Truckers took advantage of the service to eliminate the potential for flying snow debris in transit and in some cases to also avoid being over the limit prior to weighing in on the CAT Scale.  As with skiers who get the most out of their runs by being prepared, these dedicated truck drivers knew the type of snow they were dealing with and they were able to easily address it with TrucBrush.

For more information on TrucBrush, email info@TrucBrush.com.

Supporting Women In Trucking: Scholarship Opportunity

Posted by | scholarships, Transportation, Women in Trucking | No Comments

The Women In Trucking Foundation announced today a scholarship opportunity, which is awarded in four categories: Leadership, Safety Professional, Technical Skill, and Professional Driver.  Applicants can submit a request for funding online at www.WomenInTruckingFoundation.org from July 1 – July 31, 2015. Scholarship winners will be announced in August and funds will be sent to the educational facility on behalf of the grant recipient.

As a member of the Women In Trucking Association, TrucBrush Corporation continues to support the organization.  Vice President, Debora Katz, also serves on the Women In Trucking Foundation Board.

“Financial aid for education isn’t always easy to find. Our scholarships may make a difference in the recipient’s taking or not taking WIT_Foundation_logothat course, purchasing the necessary equipment/supplies, or getting that certificate or degree,” said Foundation chair Jan Hamblin of J.J. Keller.  “We want to “Forward the future” by awarding scholarships to eligible individuals.”

The foundation supports the Mission of Women In Trucking Association to encourage careers in trucking and the scholarship grants will assist members in this way. Donations are still being solicited to continue to offer educational funding in the future.

Women In Trucking was established to encourage the employment of women in the trucking, including TrucBrush Corporation, and the generosity of Gold Level Partners: Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, Great Dane Trailers, Freightliner, Walmart, G E Capital Transportation Finance, J B Hunt, Ryder, and U.S. Express. For more information, visit www.WomenInTrucking.org or call 888-464-9482.

Saluting Professional Women Truck Drivers: Reflections on this year’s WIT event at the Mid-America Truck Show

Posted by | Transportation, Women in Trucking | No Comments

The Salute to Women event is the brainchild of Ellen Voie, President/CEO of the Women in Trucking Association (WIT) and her long time colleague Char Pingel, WIT Special Events & Publications. Six years ago, the dynamic duo decided there ought to be an event that honors and celebrates the dedication and passion of professional women truck drivers in our country. Since TrucBrush Corporation was one of the sponsors this year, I was fortunate enough to share the day with 201 CDL drivers, their co-workers, friends and family members.

As part of the event, WIT’s Foundation worked to raise money for the scholarship fund to help women advance their careers in trucking. This was my first year volunteering for the WIT Foundation and I found myself wrapped in red Staples donation tickets, trying to count and tear them off fast enough to accommodate the generosity of 400 plus attendees. We raised over $2,500 dollars in what seemed like minutes. That’s the thing I’ve noticed most about people who work in the trucking industry—they support each other—not only financially but with their time and knowledge.

Pre Show Volunteers

Pre Show WIT Volunteers

Yes this is an actual cake at the WIT Salute to Professional Women Drivers

Yes this is an actual cake at the WIT Salute to Professional Women Drivers

Over the year’s I’ve attended many industry type award celebrations, but nothing prepared me for the energy of the Salute to Women in Trucking. What participants didn’t see was the approximately 50 volunteers who assembled prior to the event to prepare attendee ‘goodie bags’ chock full of donations from sponsors and the WIT. Smiling and moving with exceptional speed, the volunteers worked in unison. Nor did we witness the long hours and dedication of the WIT staff to make this event a reality.

What we did see was a sea of red shirted WIT Salute to Women drivers and some 400 attendees, both women and men, who waited in anticipation for Ellen, an industry leader with her own high octane enthusiasm for the trucking industry, to step to the podium and kick start the day. The event was streamed live so those who could not attend in person could experience it from home.

Ellen Voie WIT President/CEO kick starts the day

Ellen Voie WIT President/CEO kick starts the day

Ellen_Voie_Recognizes_Professional_Drivers

Ellen Voie recognizes professional women drivers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ellen called to the stage Marcia Taylor, President of Bennett International Group and the 2014 Influential Woman in Trucking.  Marcia addressed the audience with praise and advice, “I knew that as a women I would have to work to gain respect in the industry, by being both strong and the best I could be. You are to be congratulated for the job you do, the challenges you face as a women driver, and the important role you play in our business and the economy of our nation,” Taylor added.

Marcia Taylor of Bennett International Group

Marcia Taylor of Bennett International Group

I was moved by Taylor’s speech; how she found herself running the family’s trucking company after the early and unexpected death of her husband.  Her admiration for her own drivers who she identified in the room was palatable.  Tears where shed, including my own, as she spoke honestly about the challenges she, her family and the many women in the trucking industry face on a daily basis.

Salute to Professional Women Truck Drivers

Salute to Professional Women Truck Drivers

As the day’s speakers and award ceremonies continued, cheering from the audience became commonplace. Companies, such as Walmart and Ryder, brought their finest female drivers to be recognized for their outstanding safety records. Then Ellen did the unexpected. She asked women who had been driving a truck for 6 months or less to stand and a handful did. Then she directed the other drivers “to look for them out there and help them.” Ellen asked those with over 6 months and up to 5 years to stand…then 5 to 10, 10 to 20 and so on. She then asked the female drivers in each experience category to sit down until three women were left standing. They represented the women with over 40 years of driving experience. These women were brought to the stage to say a few words and be honored. It was a spontaneous moment and one veteran driver ended with the thought that we need to support each other, regardless of gender, “because when you get into the seat of a truck, the truck’s steering wheel doesn’t know whose hands are on it, and it doesn’t care.” Nor should we.  For the 3.5 million professional men and women truck drivers in the United States, TrucBrush Corporation salutes you!

Debora Katz is Vice President of TrucBrush Corporation.  For more info on TrucBrush visit http://trucbrush.com/about/about-the-team/ and to learn more about the Women in Trucking scholarship please visit https://www.womenintruckingfoundation.org/scholarship/

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