As the latest band of winter weather makes its way into the state today, local crews say they are prepared for the storm, because they've had enough forewarning.
"We have known about this for about a week now," said Greg Koch, Fort Dodge public works director.
Koch said his department is prepared to start snow removal today, if needed.
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Travis Roach, assistant manager of the Fort Dodge Bomgaards Supply, shows off a shovel, coat and hat Wednesday afternoon that can help deal with the anticipated snow storm.
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
A front-end loader’s bucket appears to loom over the sand shed at the Webster County Highway Department’s Otho Station on U.S. Highway 169 south of Fort Dodge. Crews are ready to deal with the anticipated storm. The loader is used to fill the plow trucks with sand and salt.
"Wednesday morning we had a planning meeting with various departments to basically set the shifts," Koch said. "We're expecting to start getting snow around 3 p.m. Thursday."
Crews will work in two 12-hour shifts, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. today and 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Friday, to keep up with snow removal, he said.
City trucks will be ready to go when the snow begins to fall.
"All of our trucks are inspected daily," he said. "We haven't been filling them with sand and salt just yet, but we will load up on Thursday based on when the snow comes."
Koch said the city will issue a snow emergency at approximately 3 p.m. today and it will remain in effect through Saturday.
"We want to remind people on residential snow routes that they should remove their vehicles from the street to avoid getting ticketed or towed," said Koch. "The police will begin issuing tickets or towing once snow begins accumulating on the city streets. We don't want to do that, but our goal is to get the vehicles off the streets so we can get our jobs done safely and effectively and get the snow removed as soon as possible."
Road crews in Webster County are also prepared for the storm.
"We always have to make sure our equipment is ready to go," said Dale Anderson, a foreman with the Webster County Road Department. "Everyone works together to make sure the sand and equipment are ready to go. We try to be prepared for the worst conditions, but hope for the best."
Anderson said county road crews will be on watch today as the snow begins to fall.
"You just have to play it by ear," said Anderson. "Every storm is different."
Anderson said the wind plays a major role in whether the rural roads are cleared in a timely matter.
"You hope for no wind," he said. "That plays a big factor in when we can get out and clean the gravel roads. We have lots of dedicated employees in Webster County who will be ready to go when they are needed."
Although the region has been spared from much of the winter weather this year, stores are still prepared with shovels, ice scrapers, ice melt, gloves and boots. As the season comes to an end, many of those items can be found at a discounted prices.
"We do have shovels all year long," said Travis Roach, assistant manager at Bomgaars, formerly Shoppers Supply, in Fort Dodge. "There is a 50 percent off sale on lots of those things; Bomgaars has us doing a sale to clear some of those winter items out. Winter shovels are definitely included in that."
Roach said the store still has plenty of Ice Melt and sand tubes for vehicles in stock.
"And we always have plenty of boots," he said. "Those come in all year."
Webster County Emergency Management Coordinator Tony Jorgensen said the storm could bring 4 to 7 inches of snow to the area, with as much as 1 to 1.5 inches of snowfall per hour at times. Winds are also expected to gust from 10 to 25 mph.
"That can create whiteout conditions," said Jorgensen. "Those conditions will be too dangerous for travel. If you don't have to be on the roads, stay home and stay warm. Don't risk your safety or the safety of the emergency responders who have to come out to help you."