Racine prepares for powerful winter storm

Posted at 4:30 PM, Dec 16, 2016

Racine is bracing for this afternoon's snowfall.

Mark Yehlen, the city's Commissioner of Public Works, said Friday afternoon that plow trucks were already finished salting and cleaning up the light snowfall that fell Friday morning.

"We're pretty much, at this point, getting salt in the trucks and getting them ready to go for this evening," Yehlen said.

When the snow begins to fall, Yehlen said the city will have at least nine trucks out salting to help commuters during rush hour.

After that, he said the amount of snow falling, the speed at which its accumulating, and the ground temperature will all play a role in whether staffing is increased or decreased.

If the snow falls as expected, Yehlen said the city will have about 34 trucks out on its main and secondary roads this evening.

The commissioner said the city will work with Racine Police to identify slick spots and direct trucks to those locations.

He said workers will likely be in for double shifts Friday and Saturday.

If the snow stops Saturday night, as predicted, the final round of cleanup would start around Midnight on Sunday morning.

Although Yehlen added plow drivers on Sunday could have to deal with frigid conditions.

"Our crews are going to be exposed, maybe, to sub zero temperatures," Yehlen said. "In that weather, anything that could go wrong just gets worse."

He said if temperatures drop so low that the road salt becomes ineffective, usually about 15 degrees Fahrenheit or below, Racine can add in chemicals to try and keep the salt working. 

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