SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — With more than a foot of snow in the forecast for parts of KELOLAND, street departments from Yankton to Mitchell to Sioux Falls are preparing for heavy snowfall.

The plows and sand trucks are ready to go at the Sioux Falls Street Department. Crews will work to keep 850 miles of emergency snow routes open. These routes include most major streets in the city.

“About a third of the city is emergency routes, and you should be able to get to an emergency route within about three to four blocks of either your business or your home,” said Street Division Manager Dustin Hansen. “So that’s good so as soon as it starts, we stay on those emergency routes until the snow ends and we get those cleared, so it could be 6 or 7 hours after the snow stops before we get them cleared.”

City street crews getting their equipment ready including this big bad boy called the snow blast. It’s a big old snow blower just like the ones you have at home, but it can fill one of those sand trucks in about ten seconds.

The last snow storm was tough on the equipment, this one could be even tougher, but Hansen believes they are as ready as they can be.

But with snow already on the ground it makes a tough job even tougher.

“With this one it’s going to take a little bit longer we have less capacity to be in the boulevards and one of the key things is do not park on the emergency routes,” said Hansen.

Crews will work to keep emergency routes open. They will get to residential streets as soon as they can.

“Be patient with us it’s going to take us a long time to clean up the city on this one it could be over a week’s span if we do get those higher amounts, if it is lower amounts we should have the city cleaned up quickly but I would say just be patient give our staff the time and once we get into those residential just be patient so we can clean up the city effectively,” said Hansen.

Hansen says cars parked on streets become an even bigger problem in deeper snow, so he asks people to be vigilant.

“Anytime you’ve already got 20 inches on the ground, one of the biggest things is just making sure that all of our equipment is up and running we have enough operators to come in to fill each shift,” said Hansen. “You know you struggle around the holidays and with vacations and sickness and kids being out with sickness and things like that. We kind of struggled with the holidays but now we are in the new year, we’ve got most people back,” said Hansen.

Hansen says they plan to use snow gates in residential areas of Sioux Falls to keep driveways clear. However, once snow depths reach 8 inches or deeper the gates become less effective.