Updated: 01/08/2014 9:43 PM
Created: 01/08/2014 6:40 PM WDIO.com
By: Travis Dill
With sub-zero winds whipping, silence is the last thing Northland drivers want to hear when they turn the key. Still, many cars were frozen solid by the deep freeze backing tow trucks up for hours.
Tom Nicholl drives a tow truck for Dave's Towing in Duluth, and even though he'd been juggling cold chains for days he was optimistic about the polar vortex releasing its grip.
“It's kind of weird that 8 degrees below zero is actually warm compared to the last few cold days,” Nicholl said.
Still, the towing company was getting up to 300 calls a day as Northland drivers cursed their batteries, and even a fleet of service vehicles couldn't keep up with the demand.
“Yesterday I heard seven or eight hours was realistic to wait for a jump,” Nicholl said.
Drivers like Kim McIntyre called for a tow, but she said the deep freeze has AAA backed up too.
“Yesterday the car wouldn't start so I put a call in to AAA. I was on hold for 65 minutes before my call was routed. Dave's Towing came out and started my car. I ran it, and it was great. This morning it wouldn't start again,” McIntyre said.
The tow drivers carry small jump boxes that can spark your car, but often vehicles need to be towed in for a battery replacement. Nicholl said the problem is repair shops are full too.
"It's hard to find a spot to put a car. You walk inside the shops and their packed up in there also,” Nicholl said.
Some vehicles were breaking down along the highway too. Nicholl said every driver should be prepared to wait out in the cold.
“If you're going to travel I would definitely recommend bringing a blanket and everyone talks about an emergency kit, but we see it first hand. A matter of 10 or 15 minutes is huge, and people don't always get to you right away all the time,” Nicholl said.
The cold clinging to the Northland might let up soon, but for now your rescue might be a few hours late.
Dave's Towing charges $40-$50 to come out and give you a jump. If a tow is needed the price bumps up to $70 or more depending on where you need to go.
FBI Investigating Death of Red Lake Tribal Representative
Kyle Loven, a Minneapolis-based FBI spokesperson, said Donald May's death was suspicious but that no other information was available. According to an obituary posted on Red Lake Nation News, May died Saturday at the age of 58.
Anti-Bullying Bill Gets OK from Minn. Senate Committee
Revised legislation that protects students against bullies has the support of a key Senate committee in Minnesota. The anti-bullying bill packed a Senate Education Committee Tuesday during a five-hour hearing.
Four Hibbing Teens Arrested for Attempted Morphine Purchase
Four students from the Hibbing High School have been arrested for allegedly trying to purchase morphine pills.
Doctors, Nurses Concerned about PolyMet Project
Almost four dozen doctors and nurses have signed a letter, asking the DNR to work with the Department of Health, on a health risk assessment for the proposed PolyMet project.
Close Council Vote Saves Ashland Ore Dock
A decision whether to save the historic ore dock in Ashland split the city council Tuesday night, but with a 6 to 5 vote the council approved taking control of the dock. Mayor Bill Whalen said over $3 million offered by the dock's current owner, Canadian National, should help improve it for future use.