With latest Wichita storm, city’s snowplows are out in full force

03/02/2014 1:36 PM

08/06/2014 10:18 AM

All 50 of the city’s snowplows are out and running, said Alan King, director of public works and utilities for the city of Wichita, at a news briefing Sunday.

“We ask the traveling public to please bear with us. It takes us awhile to get through the streets,” King said.

Colder temperatures make the salt less effective, but the city is still spreading, King said.

“We’re putting down a sand/salt mix so that when the weather does improve, any ice or snow pack that is left after our plowing will start to break up, particularly later this week when we’re anticipating getting a little bit warmer temperatures and some sunshine starting Tuesday. That combined with the action of the traffic moving over the roadways should break it up.”

Wichita has about 1,500 miles of snow routes, which King said should be completed about 24 hours after the snow ends, which he anticipates will be some time Sunday night.

Roads won’t be completely clear in time for the Monday morning commute, King said, but they should be better by the evening rush hour.

The city’s supply of mixtures is fine, King said. Crews started with about 6,000 tons and are down to around 4,000 tons with more shipments expected this week.

“If you don’t have to make a trip, don’t,” he said. “If you do, please exercise caution – following distance, acceleration, deceleration, stopping, sharp turns. Some places on the road will be worse than others but intersections should be pretty good because we’ve hit them with sand and salt.”

Preparations for the storm began last week with crews laying down a brine mixture on elevated roads, curves, intersections, slopes and other known problem areas.

The storm should be on track to drop a total of between 3 and 5 inches, said Kevin Darmofal, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wichita.

Temperatures should be expected to warm up later this week to the 30s or 40s Tuesday and Wednesday and possibly the lower 50s on Thursday and Friday, Darmofal said.

“Things will definitely be looking better then,” he said.

Also at the briefing, Sgt. John Hoofer said that the weather had caused crime in Wichita to slow down.

“We’re appreciative of that,” he said.

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