Metro Cities Prepping Roads for First Snowfall

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WEST DES MOINES, Iowa -- Snow is coming and the local public works’ crews are ready.

“I’d say we are really prepared,” said Bret Hodne, City of West Des Moines Public Works. “We like to always be ready by November 1st. Our employees enjoy it. We will have all hands on deck.”

November has been kind to the area as no snow has fallen and temperatures have been warmer than normal.

The warmer weather has saved the city of Des Moines quite-a-bit of money so far with the lack of snow.

"So far, we have spent under $1,000,” said Sara Theis, City of Des Moines Public Works. “Normally, by this time of year we have spent $50,000 out of our snow budget. So we have had time to complete more construction projects with the warmer weather we've had over the last few weeks."

That saving of $50,000 is the equivalent of two days of snow removal for the City of Des Moines.

Theis also said that she has seen this before and it doesn't mean it will be a warm rest of the winter. This extra time has given the department more time to complete construction projects and fill potholes.

The warmer weather will have lasting effects after it’s gone.

“The pavement temps have a huge impact on the chemical effectiveness,” said Hodne. “If the pavement temperature is at 30 degrees, one pound of salt will melt about 46.3 pounds of ice. If that drops just 10 degree it will drastically reduce the effectiveness. We are talking 80 percent drop.”

Last November was rough for local crews as the metro area got hammered with two storms and below average temperatures.

“We had January weather in November. It was freaky,” said John Hart, assistant state maintenance engineer for the Iowa Department of Transportation. “We don’t plan on having snow in the first part November, so that really was tough.”

Hart said his department used 38,000 tons of salt in November of 2014, which accounted for half of its total snow allotment.

Hodne said they looking forward to the snow and his crews are ready.

“I think Friday won’t be so bad because the pavement temperatures will be warm, almost 40 degrees,” said Hodne. “The trouble may come Saturday when it cools down. We got to get the snow off the roads before it gets below freezing.”

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