It's pretty much the calm before the storm at the Oxford DPW garage.
The crew has already filled trucks with salt and sand, checked the brakes on each plow, and they've been tuning in to get the latest weather forecasts to find out exactly how much snow we're in for and when it's going to start.
The latest forecast models predict that the snow will begin falling between 4 and 9 a.m. on Friday, with the most intense accumulation coming in the afternoon, when upwards of two to three inches will drop per hour. It's that kind of snowfall that leads to blizzard-like conditions and that makes the DPW crews' jobs extremely difficult.
"The worst part about it for us is when you can't see," says Kevin Miles, a DPW utility man.
There are other challenges that a storm like this presents, the crew says. The duration of the storm — expected to be about 24 hours — makes for long hours and many trips to continually clear local roads. The amount, too — upwards of 15 inches — makes it tough. Windy, narrow roads can also be difficult to navigate.
On the upside, the crew notes, is that it's fresh snow dropping on bare ground, and not piling on top of existing snow, like was the case two years ago.
As soon as the snow starts dropping crews will head out to pre-treat streets with a mixture of sand and salt. They will then plow throughout the storm, each with their own route. There are 10 routes in all.
Main roads are a priority and then side roads are plowed. Trucks are also equipped with radios so that drivers can monitor fire and ambulance calls and, if necessary, respond to an area during an emergency to make sure roads are clear.
How You Can Help
- Keep your cars off the road and in the driveway during the storm
- Stay off the roads unless you absolutely have to travel
- After the snow stops, crews will do one last sweep and that usually takes about six hours, so it's best to wait a while before venturing out