SHARE YOUR PHOTOS: Brookfield Gets About Half-Foot of Snow in Storm
City and Town of Brookfield staff say they are in great shape on salt supply, given the late start to the typical Wisconsin winter weather.
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(Updated 9:15 a.m.) The snow has stopped and a winter weather advisory had ended, as Brookfield residents dig out from a typical winter snow storm and get back to work and school Friday.
Maybe another inch was forecast for Saturday, with a high of 24.
(Updated at 11 p.m.) About five inches of snow had fallen on Brookfield by 10:30 p.m. Thursday, with blustery, blowing snow expected to add another 1/2-inch to 1 inch by morning, according to Patch media partner FOX6Now.com.
Motorists should plan for leave more time for their morning commute Friday, as plows drop another layer of salt. And bundle up the children for school: the high temperature could be 22 degrees, but it'll feel harsher with the wind chill and strong wind.
(Updated at 2:30 p.m. Thursday) The Town of Brookfield's five snow plow trucks were hitting the streets for the first time about 2 p.m. Thursday to get salt laid before the evening rush.
Town Highway Superintendent Jeff Golner said the trucks will salt the town's 36 road miles before rush hour. One or two trucks will go back out from 8 to 10 p.m. to salt the main roads, while Waukesha County is in charge the most-trafficked ones, such as Barker, Brookfield and Springdale roads, Golner said.
"Then we'll be back at 3 a.m. and salting by 4," he said.
Like the City of Brookfield, (see original story below), the town has plenty of salt supply. "We're still using 2011 salt, we haven't even touched 2012," Golner said.
The town uses a mix of salt and sand (80 percent salt) and orders about 800 to 1,000 tons a year, bidding with the state.
Golner reminded motorists to keep a safe distance from snow plow trucks — pointing to a message on the back of the plow asking for a 200-feet gap.
"Just be careful and take your time," he said. "You'll get there."
(Original story:) City public works crews say with the first substantial snowfall of the season not coming until mid-January, they have plenty of salt on hand to keep roads safe.
By Jan. 10, 2011, the city had already used 3,572 tons of salt and salt-sand mix for snow storms. As of the same day this year, just 637 tons of salt and sand have been used, said Terry Starns, city highway superintendent.
"We are in real good position," he said.
Brookfield roads were wet this morning as the rainy mist waited for the temperatures to slide below freezing to turn into snow. As of 10:30 a.m. light flurries had begun to fall; by 10:50 a.m. the snowfall was heavier.
The National Weather Service was forecasting 1 to 3 inches of blowing snow in Brookfield throughout the day and another 1 to 3 at night.
Temperatures were hovering around freezing at 10 a.m. and expected to drop to abound 24 degrees by the evening rush, with winds around 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph.
Starns said it's easier for the city to keep the roads clear and safe during falling snow than freezing rain or ice. Of the three snow events the city had before today, two were small snow amounts — about a half-inch.
The city police department reported two vehicle crashes in that snow, compared to 29 crashes reported during an icy morning over the holidays, Starns said. Milwaukee also reported hundreds of crashes that day.
City has 20 snow routes
"We certainly always try to be as proactive as we can," he said. "Still, it's a very reactive service that we provide. Until it starts snowing and it sticks, there isn't much we can do."
Once it does stick, city workers salt or plow 20 routes of about 11 miles each, winding through the many cul-de-sacs and dead-ends that make Brookfield a more complicated plowing situation than say, Milwaukee with its grid street system.
Starns said it takes about 2 to 3 hours to salt the entire city. Snow removals takes longer, especially if it's a slow, day-long fall as is forecast today, because once trucks go through a street, it becomes snow-covered again and requires a second pass.
"After snow stops, we can get it cleaned in about eight hours," Starns said. "That's pretty good for a city of this size. Milwaukee doesn't get it done in eight hours."
Salt, budget hard to predict
Brookfield orders 4,400 tons of salt every season, getting a discount bid by joining the state of Wisconsin in its annual bid. For this winter season, the city paid $53.16 a ton, up from $52.48 the previous season.
They get the salt from North American Salt's barge terminal in Milwaukee, but Brookfield has it shipped in several dumps, not all at once. That's because the city's dome – at the highway garage and recycling center on Riverview Drive — also houses sand supplies. If it was just salt, the dome could hold 4,500 tons.
The city uses a 50-50-sand-salt mix for residential streets; all salt for major roads. That's for budgetary and environmental reasons, Starns said. Salt is harder on the environment and pavement.
Starns said the dome has plenty for today's storm but he'll have to soon bring in another shipment to refill it.
"It's really too early to guess a prediction for this year's budget since we have no idea if the rest of the winter will be above or below normal," he said.
The city's total annual costs for snow and ice control, which includes all
preparation (such as installing plow markers, snow fence, sand barrels,
mixing salt/sand, plowing, etc.) has varied widely in recent years. The annual costs below are for fiscal calendar year, not seasonal costs, so they include January through end of one winter and months from the start of the next winter through December:
2011 totals are not yet available.