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Thread: Drifting Snow Question

  1. #1
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    Drifting Snow Question

    So am I correct in my thinking that I need to plow the snow to the "down wind" side of the drive to minimize drifts on the drive side. Two years ago if I recall, I plowed down the middle working my way back and forth pushing all the snow to each side. The next day the drifts pretty much filled in the gaps between the piles on each side. If I push to only the one side (down-wind side), will I'm thinking I'll be fighting the same, but with more on one side and a minimum on the up-wind side.
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  2. #2
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    I've never 'plowed' snow{use a snow blower} but I would be concerned on how wide of a drive and the heaviness of the snow, as to pushing it all to one side {thinking transmission-wise} Around here the winds change constantly it seems during snowfalls and it's just about a losing proposition hoping to clear the drive once & only once. I have a privacy fence located about 3/4th's the way up my drive, and no matter how clean I get the area, I have drifts the next day

    Not much help was it
    The perception of perfection is perfectly clear to everyone else

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Cook View Post
    I've never 'plowed' snow{use a snow blower} but I would be concerned on how wide of a drive and the heaviness of the snow, as to pushing it all to one side {thinking transmission-wise} Around here the winds change constantly it seems during snowfalls and it's just about a losing proposition hoping to clear the drive once & only once. I have a privacy fence located about 3/4th's the way up my drive, and no matter how clean I get the area, I have drifts the next day

    Not much help was it
    On the contrary, confirms my thoughts that I'm going to push snow no matter what, might as well get my mind wrapped around it.
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  4. #4
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    That's the spirit...makes those first few days of spring feel all the better
    The perception of perfection is perfectly clear to everyone else

  5. #5
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    Darren, I also snow blow rather than plow. However, some thoughts on plowing that you probably have already thought of.

    Plowing to the down wind side will improve the drifting situation, but...
    How wide is your drive?
    How heavy is the snow?
    How well does your plow push snow?
    Auto or manual transmission?
    4WD?
    Plowing to one side will quickly build up the snow bank on the DW side.
    This could create a plowing problem with pending future storms.
    Thoughts entering one's mind need not exit one's mouth!
    As I age my memory fades .... and that's a load off my mind!

    "We Live In The Land Of The Free, Only Because Of The Brave"
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darren Wright View Post
    On the contrary, confirms my thoughts that I'm going to push snow no matter what, might as well get my mind wrapped around it.
    ...or move to south Georgia.
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member and Member of Mensa
    My Weather Underground station

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Arnold View Post
    ...or move to south Georgia.
    Almost did 20 years ago, didn't work out.
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  8. #8
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    Not sure but you might try pushing to the wind side just as you would put snow fence up wind of your drive to help keep the drift out of it.
    It could be worse You could be on fire.
    Stupid hurts.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Thoits View Post
    Not sure but you might try pushing to the wind side just as you would put snow fence up wind of your drive to help keep the drift out of it.
    I was thinking that initially, but after chewing on it some I'm moderately sure that won't work as well as you'd like.

    Snow fences work by creating a pressure drop on the downwind side of the fence so the snow drops out downwind of the fence. In this case that means the drift would grow towards the road if the pile is on the upwind side. If the drift was far enough from the road that could work ok, but you'd want it to be at least as far from the road as you expect the drift to grow (don't know that one, depends on snow type, wind speed, etc.. etc..). Based on an arbitrary installation PDF for snow fences it looks like the impact zone is ~35X the height of the fence so if you had a 2' pile of snow it would cause accumulation downwind for ~60'.

    It would actually work better pushing to the downwind side because then you'd keep the speed up on the incoming snow across the road and it would then drop out downwind of the new drift. The gain from that is pretty marginal though as the snow accumulates to up to 15X the height of the fence on the upwind side ... so.. yeah.. I reckon you'll be moving more snow either way.

    Source of wisdom unless you are mislead into thinking I knew all of those numbers off of the top of my head (theory yes, numbers no): http://www.dot.state.il.us/blr/l002.pdf

    edit: I see Al pointed out the downwind drifting problem above as well.
    Last edited by Ryan Mooney; 02-22-2013 at 12:14 AM. Reason: credit due to early responders

  10. #10
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    Pretty simple. If you are blowing snow and the wind blows it back in your face you're blowing it in the wrong direction
    Faith, Hope & Charity

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