Levi, Ray & Shoup, Inc.

Choreographing a Response to the Weather (and IT Risk)

4/4/2024 by Patrick Schmidt

This month I am going to talk about the weather. Astute readers of my blogs will say, “Wait a minute, you talked about the weather the last time you wrote a blog.” And you would be correct. My February 22nd blog titled “The Winter that Winter Forgot” contained a plethora of weather-related facts and links.

So, why talk about the weather again? We’ll get to that in a moment. First, I thought it would be interesting to do a bit of research on why we use the weather as foundational small talk everywhere from the ball game, to elevators, to the office, and the supermarket.

According to University of California, Santa Barbara Associate Professor of Communication Andy Merolla, the weather is, “…something all people can comment on because it’s that shared experience. It’s really important for social life to have these ready-made topics. It’s like having an on-ramp to an interaction that could lead to deeper discussion.”

OK, so we all talk about it because it is a shared experience, but what can we do about it? Well, nothing, and plenty. Stick with me here, your patience will pay off.

Back to what has happened in Twin Cities weather in the past 10 days. For those of you who have never read one of my blogs, I should let you know I live in what could be considered the southernmost province of Canada called Minnesota. You betcha we have some weather here.

After a record-breaking stretch of warm winter weather, we were quickly approaching Spring Break and Easter. Surely, in the last week of an unusually temperate March we would escape winter and begin mowing our lawns in April.

But Mother Nature and Minnesota have a complicated relationship.

From Thursday, March 21 into Friday morning, we received a couple inches of heavy, wet Spring snow. No problem, we thought. This will be gone in no time. And it was… until Sunday the 24th when we received another 8-plus inches of the sloppy white stuff.

Once again, no problem, we thought. Rain is on the way and will melt this mess quickly. And it did… until Tuesday morning, March 26, when the rain turned into a driving snow at the rate of between one and two inches an hour.

For many, it was time to say “uncle” as it seemed could do nothing. Time to call off school, stay home, and curl up by the fire with Netflix. In other words, we would just make the best of it.

On the other hand, some of us (like me), had business travel plans and needed to board a plane. Surely, the weather would close the airport, right? Not so – this is the part where we can do plenty.

The Minneapolis Saint Paul International Airport (MSP) has a legendary ability to remove snow and ice from its runways and keep the airport open. This award-winning team of 100 individuals uses 150 different pieces of equipment to keep 28 million square feet of airfields and runways safe for the flying public and the 133rd Airlift Wing of the Minnesota Air National Guard.

Tuesday, March 26 was another classic performance of what the team calls the conga line (seriously, watch the video in the link). Between 15 and 23 vehicles of up to six types move in succession to clear runways in as little as 15 minutes. There are plows, rotating brushes, deicing vehicles, and even this strange looking contraption that is a snowplow dragging a broom. You don’t see those at the Orlando airport.

And, even though my flight was delayed for a bit, no flights were cancelled, and most ran on-time. What amazed me most was that this was no big deal to the airport staff. One of the gate agents said to me, “This is how we do it at MSP.”

All this activity is directed by a command center that is constantly in contact with the National Weather Service, The Federal Aviation Administration, the airlines, and other airports. It is a set of choreographed actions that made me think: wouldn’t it be great if your IT provider ran with this type of precision?

Spoiler alert – It can, when you have the right equipment, knowledge, team, and tools. Just like the MSP snow removal team, LRS IT Solutions can provide you with the products and services that mitigate risk to keep you up-and running.

We have robustly staffed teams in AI and Analytics, Infrastructure, Security, and Software. Each team leverages decades of experience with the right tools and processes to deliver exceptional results.

LRS Professional Services can be wrapped into any offering to deliver your desired level of service and our Lifecycle Management Practice ensures the commitment to you is not a point in time, but a relationship into the future as your needs evolve and change.

Are you ready to choreograph success in your enterprise? Contact us to find out how the LRS teams can exceed your expectations.

And, if you are skeptical, just think about the MSP snow removal team. The photo at the top of this blog was my view while I doubted their effectiveness. Just a few minutes after I took the shot, I boarded that plane bound for beautiful, sunny Saint Louis. Hey, I live in Minnesota. Anywhere south of here in a snowstorm is beautiful.

Patrick Schmidt is a Technology Lifecycle Management Specialist with LRS IT Solutions. For more than 27 years, he has been helping customers get a firm grasp on their asset and contract management with a combination of comprehensive service level analysis and lifecycle management best practices.