Snowfall is just a natural part of living in Colorado, but how do they clear away that snow? Using a World War II Howitzer.
For a few years now, the Colorado Department of Transportation has been using a pretty interesting method to clear away snow in avalanche-risk areas: the World War II Howitzer cannon. The missile, which clocks in around 40 pounds, is sent flying up into the mountains to break up the snowpack.
This reaction creates a controlled avalanche. This is the most effective way to clear away the snow in the winter because the snow is broken up and when it does travel down the mountainside, it comes in much less frightening waves.
Crew member John Palmer told KOB-TV that “in order to keep the snow from hitting the road at the worst possible time, we go in and do some mitigation ahead of time.”
The M101 105 mm Howitzer is on lease from the United States Army, but Colorado has had it in their possession for a pretty long time. The cannon, which blasts up to seven miles, was developed in 1941 specifically for World War II.
It’s always awesome to learn how states handle their own winter weather, and it’s even better to see older technology still being put to use today.