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February 28, 2013

Second Snow Storm Slams Scotland County

City and county work crews were busy Tuesday morning digging out from underneath the second snowstorm to hit Scotland County in days.

The second winter storm in less than a week brought Scotland County to a standstill on Tuesday morning, as a large number of businesses were closed or opened late to allow for snow removal.

Scotland County schools had one day of classes in between snow days. SCR-I dismissed early on Thursday, February 21st and was not in session on February 22nd due to the first snow storm.

With the National Weather Service (NWS) issuing a Winter Storm Warning beginning late on Monday, February 25th, classes were held as normally scheduled on Monday.

Superintendent Dave Shalley made the call early Tuesday morning to cancel classes as the storm dropped an estimated four inches of snow across the area beginning around midnight. Classes were canceled for Wednesday, February 27th midway through the afternoon on Tuesday.

Area road crews were hard at it Tuesday morning, battling tougher conditions than provided by the previous storm.

Scotland County Road Boss Mark Drummond indicated the county was able to complete its snow removal tasks in less than 24 hours following the first storm last week.

"We hit the roads around 12:30 a.m. on Friday and the last grader checked back in at 11:15 p.m. that evening," Drummond said. "We did not have to run V plows, and were able to do all the snow removal with the belly plows on four graders."

Drummond said that will make things easier the second go around.

"It didn't blow and drift much last time so we were able to hit it hard," Drummond said. Plus with the belly plows we are able to push it much further off the road, leaving us more space to work when the next one hits."

And hit it has. According to the NWS several inches of snow had fallen across northeast Missouri, with more on the way as of 8 a.m. A further accumulation of up to eight inches was expected as the storm front slowed and was sitting over the region longer than initially anticipated.

The surface low in Missouri was forecast to move northeastward toward Indiana by Tuesday evening and into northwest Ohio by Wednesday morning, but not before dumping moderate to heavy snow on both sides of the front.

As of 8 a.m. on Tuesday, the storm had pummeled central Missouri with as much as a foot of snow in areas around Macon.

Despite the continuing snowfall, City of Memphis crews were hard at it early Tuesday morning performing snow removal on the city's 25 miles of streets.

"Some snow removal efforts don't start until the snow stops falling, but we like to get at it as quick as possible," said Street Superintendent Roy Monroe. "It's a lot easier to get it off the streets before it gets packed down by traffic."

The city's efforts will also be added by the residual effects of salt placed on the streets following the February 21st storm.

"That helps to keep it from sticking to the ground and makes it easier to push the snow," Monroe said. "But if there is any rain or it gets really cold that can makes things much more difficult to get the roads cleared."

Monroe encouraged city residents to remove their vehicles from city streets any time there is snow forecasted. The city's snow removal efforts are also aided by timely private snow removal.

"If people can get their drives opened up and the sidewalks and other snow removal done while we are working, that means we don't have to go back and clean up those areas after we have already done the regular snow removal," Monroe stated.

With two significant snow storms in just a few days, one benefit is for kids looking for some winter entertainment. The bulk of the snow removed from the city square is transported to Johnson Park. Monroe stated the mountains of snow are favorite destinations for the kids who enjoy building tunnels and snow forts.

The city crews anticipate running a 12-15 hour snow removal cycle, hitting the streets for a minimum of four passes to totally open both lanes of traffic.

At the county level, the road graders depart from the county shed and make one complete pass of the designated route before returning for a second run at the roads.

"With 530 miles of road we just don't have the manpower or the equipment to do standard snow removal," Drummond said. "We do our best to open up all roads with at least one path of traffic before we start back and hit them a second time."

Drummond said he and his crews have been encouraged by the public support following the first storm.

"My guys are really dedicated and they take this responsibility seriously," Drummond stated. "So it's nice to hear from folks who understand the magnitude of this task and are appreciative of the efforts and are patient knowing we are hard at it to open their roads."

Fortunately for both road crews, and possibly unfortunately for school kids who are enjoying the snow days, the NWS is forecasting no more snow the rest of the week and temperatures right around the freezing mark.

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Memphis Democrat
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