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Oh no, more snow
by Jacob Lane · January 15, 2014

‘Twas the week between Christmas and New Year's Day; the snow began falling every which way. Workers were busy cleaning the street while everyone else stayed inside for heat.

West Liberty has seen consistent snow since Dec. 22. While this may be nothing new to its residents, the amount of work it takes to clear the streets also never changes. With a school-canceling-high of negative six degrees on Monday, the snow isn't going anywhere.

Adam Reinhardt, WL Public Works Supervisor, is in charge of snow removal. He organizes and makes the final call when it comes to snow removal.

"The first couple of snowfalls I called out people, but usually we wait to get around two inches before we hit the streets," he said.

According to Reinhardt, West Liberty has received approximately 7-9 inches of snow since Christmas. The latest large snowfall clocked in around 2-3 inches last Wednesday, while the weekend saw another inch.

During the last full week of December West Liberty clocked in a total of 5 inches. It was a white Christmas indeed, a whole different story from last year when barely any snow fell before Christmas Day. But with more snow comes more work.

"It can get tiring because everything gets plowed," added Reinhardt. "We put in long hours and this isn't even our full-time job."

This is Reinhardt's first winter season in charge of snow removal, although he's worked with the city now for more than eight years.

West Liberty has approximately five plows. So far it's been averaging four plows to clean up the snow. In worse weather it employs a dump truck to help; however, there hasn't been a need this year for it as of yet.

The snow crew focuses on downtown first and works its way out. Cleaning the city can average from four to seven hours depending on the amount of snow fallen. After the snow is piled up it's taken to the Industrial Park and dumped.

They typically put down a layer of salt after cleaning, but Reinhardt warns that putting down salt doesn't always do the job in cold conditions.

"When the temperature high is one degree the salt doesn't help," he said.

That means salting has been a somewhat useless venture the past few days. Besides snow, freezing conditions have struck West Liberty lately.

Saturday, Jan. 24, a high of 34 degrees crept into town, but it didn’t last long. By Sunday the high was 17, and Monday temperatures dipped into the negatives with a high of negative six degrees.

It was so cold the West Liberty School District canceled school both Monday and Tuesday, including all school activities such as a scheduled visit from motivational speaker Roy Juarez Jr. and a fine arts performance.

However, when it comes to snow there are a few ways residents can help the crew during the coldest of weather when they need to plow the streets.

"Move the cars out of the streets," he said. When the ends of vehicles stick out into the road it can be difficult to remove snow around them.

Also, when shoveling the snow try to avoid throwing it back into the street.

"People throw it out into the street, then we got to throw it back in," he added. "Please try to put it somewhere else."

He acknowledges this can be difficult. After all, the snow isn't going anywhere until temperatures rise. But, no matter what day of the week, holiday or not, he and his crew are out there working to clear the streets.

"It's time away from the family, which we don't like, but we do it," he said.

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