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Gradual Snow Prompts Watertown Snow Removal

January 2, 2013, 6:03 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

Gradual Snow Prompts Watertown Snow Removal
WATERTOWN, SD -

Despite few storms in the region, city streets in some northeast KELOLAND communities are slick and snow-packed.

Snow totals are adding up after small amounts have fallen here and there. It's even gotten bad enough in Watertown for city-wide snow removal.

The policy in Watertown doesn't call for plows to clear all the streets and avenues unless two inches of snow falls. But given street conditions, the city wasn't about to wait any longer.

"Well, now they're getting a little better but at first I thought it was a little crappy," Edger Bunde said.

Bunde lives in Watertown and was happy to learn crews are in the middle of clearing the streets.

Looking back through the middle of last month, Watertown hasn't received more than an inch and a half of snow at a time. And there's only one time totals topped an inch. Still, what came was enough to make a mess of streets.

"It was just all those little inches here, half inch there, a little blowing, the frost from the trees,” Watertown Superintendent of Streets Mike Rye said. “It's just been kind of a continual thing."

And Rye says cold temperatures kept that mounting snow from melting off the streets. Other northeast communities have faced that same combination and are dealing with snow-packed streets as a result. But Watertown had some rain in the mix which made matters worse.

"The streets looked terrible until Monday and now it'll take us four to five working days this week and we've already got two behind us to get it completed," Rye said.

Then the street clearing work will be done until the next snow storm or several small snows combine to bring the plows out again.

According to the city, it's rare for small snow events to add up and eventually require city-wide snow removal. Depending on snowfall amounts, Watertown pays between $35,000 and $50,000 to send plows through the entire city.

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