Snow clean up efforts begin

By Emily Jarrett

February 5, 2014

A day after a winter storm brought 7.5 inches of snow to Sedalia, area residents are starting to dig out.

Public Works Director Bill Beck said crews worked 12-hour shifts plowing roads and by 1:30 p.m. Wednesday the city’s emergency snow routes were mostly clear and workers had moved on to residential areas.

“All in all, the storm could have been a lot worse, I think we did a pretty good job keeping up with the roads,” he said. “Working in the residential areas now, we’re trying to plow and salt intersections as much as we can.”

Beck said the department used about 50 tons of salt during this week’s storm, bringing the city’s total usage to approximately 400 tons.

“We’ve used about half of our salt storage but more is on the way, we’ll be in good shape if we’re hit with another storm,” he added.

Once the residential streets are plowed, crews will begin picking up the snow that had been piled in the middle of some major roads, especially in the downtown area where commercial buildings rely on street parking.

“I think we were pretty fortunante this time, it was predicted we’d get a lot more snow,” Beck said. “We’ll keep clearing the streets and hopefully things will get back to normal quickly.”

While city crews spread salt, county road crews were trying out a new way to treat snow-covered roads: liquid calcium.

“Spraying the liquid calcium on roads keep them moist without freezing,” said Pettis County Western Commissioner Jim Marcum said. “It’s been so cold lately that salt doesn’t really do anything so we had to start using sand and the calcium. So far it seems to be working well.”

Marcum said while county crews are working to clear the roads as soon as possible, some will take longer than others, particularly the gravel roads.

“We can’t plow a gravel road like we do concrete roads, sometimes it’s just better to put sand down and wait for it to melt,” he said.

Melting may be an issue with temperatures expected to keep dropping. According to the National Weather Service, Pettis County will be in a Wind Chill Advisory until noon today. Wind chills in the morning will feel like 20 below zero and can cause frostbite to unprotected skin in as little as 30 minutes. The weather should warm up this weekend, however, with temperatures predicted to be in the mid-20s.

In the meantime, both Beck and Marcum urged residents to continue to drive carefully on city and county roads and watch for ice patches.

“Until the roads are completely clear, slow down and drive sensibly,” Marcum said. “That’s all you can do.”