While school cancellations and travel  conditions were grabbing headlines this week as part of the extended winter weather gripping the area local businesses and officials were doing their best to get by in the battle with Mother Nature.

“I’ve been keeping track and by my records we have had 22 inches of snow in January,” said Memphis City Superintendent Roy Monroe.

Monroe was busy on Monday working with a backhoe to clear ice debris from several intersections of city streets with Highway 15 in Memphis.

“It’s not something normally associated with snow removal,” Monroe said of his choice of equipment. “But there are places where the ice is as much as eight inches thick at these intersections. If you have a little car, it was really bad trying to get through these spots.”

He indicated work had been done at the intersections of Sigler, Madison, Missouri, Market and Huntington streets with Highway 15 North.

“There are no storm drain inlets along the highway at these intersections, so there is nowhere for the water to go when the snow melts,” said Monroe.

The city isn’t the only one dealing with the hardships of the extended cold.

Pepsi-Cola in Memphis announced it would not be running delivery routes on Wednesday, January 30th due to forecasted extreme cold temperatures.

“Our office and service staff will be here, but we are afraid of our trucks fuel gelling and product freezing up in the trailers,” said Mike Johnson.

He indicated this would be the second time in the past couple of months the company has changed its delivery schedule due to weather.  

“Anytime the outside temperature is below zero, we watch product very closely for freezing,” said Johnson. “Once we have any sign of freezing, the trucks come back to the warehouse for the day.”

He added the company also makes an effort when roads are bad to delay truck departures for a few hours.

“We try to give state and city crews time to clear the streets without big trucks and trailers blocking driveways and alleys,” he said.

The extended weather period has taken a toll on supplies as well.

“After three or four winters in a row where it felt like you couldn’t give away ice melt, now we are having trouble keeping any on the shelves,” said Scott Westhoff of Rose Hardware in Memphis.

All that snow did produce a first for the local retailer however as the Memphis store expanded its market to include a snow blower, which didn’t last long on the store floor before going home with a local customer to help battle the snow.

The American Red Cross has reissued its emergency call for blood donors to give now after multiple snow storms, frigid temperatures and the government shutdown further reduced lifesaving donations.

In January, more than 4,600 Red Cross blood and platelet donations went uncollected as blood drives were forced to cancel due to severe winter weather blanketing parts of the U.S.

“Disruptions to blood and platelet donations jeopardize the availability of blood for patients who depend on transfusions for survival,” said Cliff Numark, senior vice president, Red Cross Biomedical Services. “We’re grateful for all those who have come out to give since we issued our emergency call earlier this month and now urge others to come out and give to prevent delays in essential medical care.”

Right now, Red Cross blood donations are being distributed to hospitals faster than they are coming in, and there is less than a three-day supply of most blood types on hand. The Red Cross strives to maintain a five-day supply of blood to meet the needs of patients and to be prepared for emergencies that require significant volumes of donated blood products. 

All eligible donors, especially blood donors with type O blood, are urgently needed to help restock the shelves for hospital patients. Donation appointments can be easily scheduled by using the free Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

There is a blood drive scheduled in Kirksville January 29th from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Preferred Family Health Care at 900 E LaHarpe as well as one February 1st in Queen City from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Queen City Community Building, 721 7th Street.