Wet snow made for great snowmen, few traffic incidents
February 2, 2014
The wet, sticky snow that dumped on Greeley and Weld County made for great snowmen and few traffic incidents Friday, though some commuters had a slow start to their day.
Students in the Platte Valley Re-7 (Kersey) and Johnstown-Milliken Re-5J school districts were all too happy to craft perfect snowballs when their school days were canceled due to the weather.
The Eaton Re-2, Windsor Re-4 and Highland Re-9 (Ault-Pierce) school districts delayed their school days by two hours, but Greeley-Evans School District 6 was on a normal schedule.
Snowfall varied across Weld County, from less than 3 inches in New Raymer to 9 inches in Nunn, according to the National Weather Service. Snowfall in the middle of Greeley hit 5.3 inches.
Ashley Mohr, spokeswoman for Region 4 of the Colorado Department of Transportation, said 50 snowplows were at work in northeastern Colorado starting Thursday night.
Greeley and Weld County similarly deployed their snow removal crews at 7 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, respectively.
Weld County spokeswoman Jennifer Finch said 19 snow plows and three motor graders were out on paved roads, and 31 motor graders were out on gravel roads.
Joel Hemesath, Greeley's director of public works, said the city had 20 snow plows out plus tractors and snow blowers used to clear city property and trails.
He said the city uses a five-year average to budget for snow removal, which for 2014 is $539,000.
It has been a wet January, but Hemesath said he's more concerned about long-lasting storms, which take a toll on the city's supply of salt, which is used to melt ice on the roads.
When it continues to snow for multiple days, the snow melts and dilutes the salt, and crews must reapply it, Hemesath said. He said the city has already made a substantial dent in its salt budget.
Hemesath said if storms continue to follow that pattern, he will likely have to come back before the Greeley City Council to request more funding, but they are otherwise on track for the snow removal budget.
However, few serious crashes were reported across the county, said Weld County Sheriff's Bureau Chief Steve Reams.
As always, many were out enjoying the onslaught of snowy weather.
At the football practice field at the University of Northern Colorado, Jim Schnuerle and family were among those who dug out their sleds for the day.
"I'm a Colorado native, so this weather doesn't bother me," he said.
Bryson Brug contributed to this report.