Edmonson Voice Staff
We're about 36 hours into the 2016 snowstorm and Emergency Management Director Pat Prunty says there are some drivers who are getting anxious. "We're getting calls from people that want to know why their road hasn't been cleared, or how long before someone gets out here," Prunty said. "All we're asking is for you to be patient, our road crews are working as fast as they can."
Prunty pointed out that what started out as rain late Thursday night ended up being 1/4 inch of ice as the base layer, then 12-14 inches of snow fell all over the county. Add 35mph winds in some areas and you have 5 and 6 foot snow drifts on some roads, causing travel to be impossible.
"It's taking our state and county road crews double or triple the amount of time to clear our roads," Prunty said. "They're putting in long hours, but they're limited to what they can do, especially after dark."
Prunty said that the extreme amount of snowfall is causing too much weight on some of the blades, and that has wreaked havoc on the the trucks. Some areas weren't even accessible by trucks with blades, but had to be cleared using a state grader blade machine.
"At one time yesterday, 4 out of 5 plow trucks were hung up, and the drivers simply had to leave them parked there until this morning. It's difficult to see what they're doing after dark, and it becomes dangerous."
"These guys are working as hard as they can go, so we ask everyone to please be patient. They'll eventually make their way all over the county. We have to make sure the main roads and highest traffic area get cleared first."
He also urged drivers to use extreme caution even though some areas have been cleared a great deal today. "Many roads are clear today, and you'll see some runoff across lanes as the snow melts in today's sun, but that runoff is going to freeze back into solid ice tonight. People get comfortable and they don't see these slick spots and ice patches. Please slow down," he said. "You should still be traveling at very slow speeds. Hitting a patch of ice at 50mph is going to do lots more damage than if you were taking it easy."
He also said that people who live near main roads sometimes forget that secondary and back roads take much longer to clear. "Some folks look out their door and say 'I don't know what the big deal is, our roads are clear,' but this has been a very serious storm. It's going to take a while to get everything cleared up.