Concrete ’s Winter Blues

Unless you were lucky enough to stay in say Florida or Hawaii for the winter, then you know this year’s Indiana winter has not been kind. This winter is among those in the record books with its brutal cold and seemingly endless snowfalls. The winter of 2013-2014 has had a major impact on the community as a whole compared to winters past.

Likewise, Custom Concrete and its production times have been impacted by the harshness of this winter season. Even with our winter concrete mix for slab work, temperatures must be at least 20 degrees and maintain 20 degrees or higher for a minimum of a six hour period. Safety is a priority at Custom Concrete. When road conditions are hazardous due to ice and blowing and drifting snow it is in the best interest of everyone to stay off the roads, be safe, and allow INDOT and DPW time to clear the roads. With the added risk of frost bite and hypothermia in a very short time, it has been imperative that our workers remain indoors for everyone’s well being.

How Bad Was It?

Many days this winter had temperatures in the single digits or below and wind chills as low as -40 degrees. We officially entered the Screen Shot 2014-02-28 at 1.59.26 PM“snowiest winter on record” category in mid-February with 51.6 inches. In an average year Central Indiana receives 25.9” of snow for the whole season!.

Local government offices closed in the first wave of arctic temperatures and again during the second wave. Trash pick up was cancelled in Indianapolis neighborhoods on January 6th, 7th, 28th, and 29th as it was too cold for workers to be out. Nearly every grocery store in the area was completely wiped out just before the first Polar Vortex attack.

Many travel advisories and warnings were issued this winter season. Indy DPW used more than 61,000 tons of salt so far this winter, which is far more than the typical 33,000 tons used in an entire season. INDOT, which oversees the state highways and interstates, plowed close to 4.3 million miles and dispensed 265,000 tons of granular salt as well as 2.5 million gallons of the salt brine mixture.

Cold stress is a very real danger in the temperatures we have seen this winter. Those working outdoors are susceptible to frost bite, hypothermia, and even increased risk for heart attacks. In the winter elements the body loses heat far faster than it can produce heat. Hypothermia occurs when the core body temperature reaches below 95*F. Those with preexisting conditions, such as hypertension or heart disease, are more likely to have a heart attack when out in the winter weather because of the extra stress put on the body trying to keep itself warm.

As the Hoosier state begins to thaw, Custom Concrete crews will be out in full force. Throughout the winter, we’ve hired more crewmembers in preparation of workflow. We will be making logistical decisions to ensure we are able to effectively complete jobs. We are optimistic that we will continue to meet our customers’ needs and ask our customers to please be patient as we all dig out from this arctic winter!


  • Indiana Department of Labor
  • Indiana Department of Transportation
  • OSHA
  • Westfield Washington Schools
  • Indianapolis Public Schools
  • NOAA