It really was the storm of the century. In fact, according to the weather bureau, whose statistics go back into the mid-1800s, the storm that began here Friday night was the fourth biggest ever recorded. So it was a huge challenge for our road crews as well as for the people who live here.
But I’ve got to say that I’ve never been prouder of our Public Works department – and neither have our residents. Report after report came back from our snow plow operators about the enthusiastic cheering and waves they received as they pushed through the heaviest snow that many of our residents have ever seen.
A two-foot snow event is not just a two-inch snowfall on steroids; it requires different tools and strategies. Tiny little plows on the front of pickup trucks just aren’t up to the job. Instead, Public Works had to rely on its biggest, heaviest, and most powerful snow moving equipment to push through the 23-inches of wet, heavy snow that blanketed our local roads. One operator told me that he thought he could hear one group of neighbors chanting the rhyme of the little engine: “I think you can, I think you can,” as he and his truck clawed through the snow banks and opened up their street.
However, to deal with the massive volume of snow, we needed more and different equipment. So we declared a local disaster emergency to make use of the community’s emergency operations plan which allowed us to bypass normal administrative procedures and bring in a number of front-end loaders right away. Kids and their parents smiled and watched in amazement as this assortment of grown-up Tonka toys cleared the huge accumulation of snow from our 289 neighborhood cul-de-sacs. And, as they did, neighbor after neighbor would help one another to clear their sidewalks and driveways.
Saturday night, after being up for well over 24 hours, I settled into a solid rest knowing that I am working with a great group of municipal employees who have a passion to serve our community, and for a community that consistently shows its very best whenever we need to come together.