Whenever there is a possibility of snow in the Sioux Falls area, the street department starts putting together its plan of action.
This time with the sheer size of the storm and forecasting of at least two or two and a half inches, street fleet manager Galynn Huber is getting prepared for the number of employees he will have to bring on. If it's a small sanding event, Huber says they call out about 40 sanders from city crews. But with the storm expected to roll into the area on Thursday evening, the street fleet could bring in the big crews and extra plows.
"For big snow falls, like we could see tonight, I bring in about 100 per shift so at any given point I have 200 city employees down here. Plus, I bring in 30 contractors each shift, so on any given shift then with my big crew it’s about 130 people who are out," Huber said.
When snow does begin to fall, the main goal is to keep emergency and secondary routes clear. The hardest part can be deciding whether to treat the roads or plow them.
"Once it starts coming down, we will treat the roads and then depending on how hard it actually comes down, there is a point where we will actually pull all the sanders off because there is no reason to put chemical down if we are going to be blading it right off," Huber said.
If we get over two inches of snow though that’s when Huber will make the call on a snow alert, and there is a very specific reason as to why we wait until that two-inch mark.
"If I call a snow alert, and some time after two inches, 2 and a half inches, we will seriously start looking at when we will call the snow alert over two inches, two and a half inches the city just gets too bogged down with the snow and I just have to plow all the streets," Huber said.
Huber is expecting to call the snow alert sometime Thursday night. If he does so that means residents in Sioux Falls will not be able to park on the streets until all roads are plowed. Huber also says it usually takes a total of 30 hours with his full crew to clear out all roads in Sioux Falls.
Under a snow alert, crews will not only clear emergency and secondary routes but all roads. Check out the Street Fleet website for more details on snow alerts and policies.