Ice and snow are headed toward the Parkland and the Governor has declared a state of emergency in advance of the oncoming storm, with some areas expecting as much as a foot of accumulated snow.
County road crews say they are as ready, whether it turns out to be a playful little snow kitten here in the Parkland or the savage snow and ice tiger some are predicting.
County workers have premixed more than 250 tons of salt and chat to spread on roads and have another 100 tons of salt and chat ready to mix if necessary. They’ve distributed extra amounts of chat and salt mix to satellite holding areas in Bonne Terre and Leadwood, which cuts about three hours driving time off of six routes.
Chain saws have been prepped and put in each of the county’s trucks so that downed tree limbs and trees can be quickly removed. Backhoes will be on standby for larger tree removal if necessary.
Each truck has been inspected, minor repairs have been effected, RainX has been put on the windshields and extra lights have been added just in case the drivers find themselves applying materials going backward as they found themselves doing in the last storm.
Generators have been hooked up to the electric boxes at the County Barn and at the fuel pump, so that everything essential keeps going if the power blacks out.
They even have a little beet juice on hand just in case there’s an opportunity to get ahead of the storm a little — although the road supervisor, Wendell Jarvis said he thinks that will be unlikely from what the forecast predicts.
“Beet juice works really well, but you can’t put it down if it’s going to rain, because the rain will wash it off before it can do anything,” Jarvis said. “It’s kind of new to us, but they have been using it a few years around Chicago and that area. It does work really well. It’s a pretreatment, so you can kind of get ahead of the storm. It buys you some time to get to the roads, it keeps things slushy so it’s easier to remove.”
According to National Weather Service predictions the ice and snow was to begin Monday night with an 80 percent chance of freezing rain up to one-tenth to 1 inch accumulation.
Then Tuesday, the prediction is windy with a near 100 percent chance of more freezing rain and sleet with up to 1 inch accumulation. Ice accumulation could be as much as one-quarter to one-half inch of that total.
Tuesday night, the forecast is for windy and colder, with more sleet, freezing rain and with blowing and drifting snow falling sometime after midnight. Visibility could be one-quarter mile or less at times. Accumulation could be between 1 and 2 inches, for a total of 1 to 3 inches.
Jarvis said he will have a partial crew on 24-7 as the storm approaches to run emergency calls and will call all 30 workers in as soon as the precipitation begins to come down.
They’ll work up to 16 hours after which he’ll begin staggering crews so they can keep fresh crews going round the clock until the situation is back under control.
“In a time like this, if it is as bad as they are saying, we have to prepare for the long haul,” Jarvis said. “Hold a few over, let some of them get some rest and then the resting crew comes back in to replace. Otherwise they get tired, and it gets dangerous for them.”
Jarvis asked motorists to stay home if at all possible during the storm.
“We’ve got a lot of good guys. They work long hours to make it safe for the public. If you don’t have to get out, please don’t. Please be safe,” he said. “Please be patient with us, and we will eventually be there. We’ll do our best. ”