For the week of February 24, 1999  thru March 2, 1999  

No record yet, but it’s early

Cities work hard to clear streets of snow


By GREG STAHL
Express Staff Writer

City crews have worked non-stop clearing the streets after the weekend dumped more than a foot of new snow. (Express photo by Willy Cook)

Although some local residents are beginning to forecast a record-breaking snow year after more than a foot of snow fell over the weekend, the totals are off the mark.

As the record tally nears, the abundant snows are keeping the valley’s municipalities busy as yet another series of storms threatens to dump more white fluff on the Wood River Valley.

According to Gale Roberts at the Hailey Soil Conservation District office, the winter of 1996/97 holds the record for snowfall in terms of the amount of water in the snow for this decade.

In terms of water content, this winter’s snowpack is currently 126 percent above the 30-year average, Roberts said. But it is still nine inches off of the record year, which had 30.5 inches of precipitation as of Feb. 22. This year, there were 21.6 inches measured as of Feb. 22.

That winter Ketchum received 151.75 inches of snow, according to Ketchum Ranger District logs. This winter, according to the same logs, Ketchum has received 133 inches to date. That’s 18.75 inches away.

According to Ketchum city administrator Jim Jaquet, Ketchum’s street department snow-removal crews have been working hard to keep up with the snow, which has piled up more than two feet on the valley floor in the past week.

He said that in a typical snow removal day—consisting of a snowfall of three to five inches--the street department removes 5,400 cubic yards of snow from Ketchum’s streets. That’s enough snow to blanket approximately three football fields under a foot of snow each.

Using a massive snow blower, the city loads 18-cubic-yard trucks in 15 to 20 seconds each and averages one truck every minute.

Jaquet said the city is not over budget on snow removal at this point in the winter. It is too early to tell, however, if it will go over or not, he said.

Each winter, the city sets aside $110,000 for snow removal. So far this winter, $77,078 has been spent—70 percent of the winter snow removal budget. In the 1996/97 winter, the city was over budget by $15,442 at winter’s end.

Bellevue city administrator Janice Moroni said her snow removal expenses are already over budget. She did not have exact figures but said that, without a doubt, the city has spent more on snow removal that it had anticipated.

Snowfall this winter

Oct.

Nov.

Dec.

Jan.
Feb.

0 inches

26 inches

25.5 inches

36 inches

45.5 inches

Total to date for winter 98/99--133 inches.

"I don’t remember having to deal with this much snow in the six years I’ve been here," Moroni said.

She said, however, that Bellevue’s streets are in great shape due to the dedication of the city’s street department employees.

Sun Valley city administrator Bob Van Nort said his snow removal expenses are also over budget due to several equipment breakdowns.

Van Nort expressed pride in the Sun Valley street department’s work this winter.

"They’re doing a hell of a job," he said.

This spring, Blaine county and valley municipalities will be ready for flooding with sand and sandbags should the snow melt off quickly.

 

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