Working in the cold weather - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Working in the cold weather

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CREAL SPRINGS, Ill. -- As bitterly cold air moves into the region, experts advise you limit your time outdoors. But many road workers and farmers are required to be outside despite the frigid temperatures. 

"Cattle really thrive in temperatures in the teens, 20s and 30s," said cattle farmer, Jeff Beasley. 

Jeff Beasley has around 1,200 cows to maintain. While the cold doesn't bother the cows, it does create problems on the farm, especially with machinery.

"This morning, for example, I had three problems to deal with. The truck didn't want to build up air because of the cold weather," said Beasley. 

But after that problem was fixed, he had to bust ice off the hay grinder and get the scales on the truck to work so he could dispense the right amount of feed to the animals. 

Frigid temperatures also affect employees with Carbondale Public Works. Robert Hardin, the Maintenance and Environmental Services Manager, says even when temperatures drop there's still work to do.

"We tell everybody to layer-up and tell everybody to watch out for one another. If you see somebody starting to struggle, get them in and get them warmed up," said Hardin.

Jeff says he's thankful his feed truck has heat, but he'll still be adding layers so he can hop out to work.

"Cattle have to have water, even when it's cold. They don't drink as much, but they still have to have it to digest their food," said Beasley. 

So to make sure they have access to it, Jeff will need to check the watering systems and ponds every morning in the extremely cold.

"We've got, you know, 20 to 25 different places we will have to check and then a few ponds that we'll have to check to see if we have to take an axe and bust the ice for them," said Beasley. 

Hardin adds if you see road crews out and about in the coming days, pass slowly and give them plenty of room.

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