LINCOLN, Neb - The winter weather started with the first snowfall in mid-October and city snow-clearing crews have been hard at work keeping up. With 33 snow events, crews have been working nearly around the clock to keep the streets clear.
On a sunny day like Tuesday, Lincoln crews are catching up by making salt and brine mixes, cleaning and repairing the fleet.
"Delivering a robust snow and ice control program to a community is a process that we spend all year on to get ready for the winter season," said Tim Byrne, the Maintenance Operations Manager at Lincoln Public Works.
This winter seems extreme, as it is the most snowfall Lincoln has received in 10 years. However, John Walsh, a meteorologist at 1011, says this winter has been anything but extreme.
"If you go back, we've had 33 events going back to our first snowfall in October. In that time, the most we've seen is about 3.6 inches if you go by the amounts at the Lincoln Airport. Now there have been heavier amounts in southern Lancaster County, only one time," said Walsh. "But by and large it's just a series of moderate to light snowfall systems that are coming through the area. And that's added up to that 29.3 inch amount that we're seeing so far this year."
When it comes to snow crews, Lincoln has a $4 million budget, and right now they're sitting at a little over half. Byrne said that after the last snowfall, Lincoln crews have put in more hours and covered more miles than they have in the past year.
"It does impact overtime. Winter weather doesn't arrive during regular business hours, so we have to be ready to respond to those conditions, any hour, any day of the week," said Byrne.
"I think it's just a matter of perception," said Walsh. "It feels like this is the worst winter, but there have been worse, historically across the board."