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Cities Battle First Big Snowfall

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When the snow starts falling, simple trips around town become much more difficult.  It's especially hard when you haven't been driving in these conditions for months.

Lt. Jerome Miller, from the Sioux Falls Police Department, knows it’s just that time of year, "It’s just a case of fine tuning your driving skills, everybody gets around where they can drive around just fine in the middle of winter, but it’s that first one that catches them off guard.  They need to go out and test that stopping distance a little bit.”

Police say they will respond to dozens more accidents than they would on a normal day.  That's why the city of Sioux Falls street maintenance crew was preparing early.  Galynn Huber, Street & Utilities Manager said, "We started yesterday already, making sure all of our spinners were on our sanders, making sure they're all calibrated.  Yesterday afternoon, we had a crew that loaded all of our sanders up, put them all into warm storage and so we have started yesterday for this event.”

While it was snowing pretty good today, the soil and the ground temperature is still above freezing, so some of the snow will undoubtedly melt.

"We're kind of planning on this being a sanding operation for us, we might blade a little bit of the slush off of the driving lanes but certainly I don't think it’s going to be a situation where we are going to have to call a snow alert.”

Engineers are bringing resources together to help each other out, including new cameras that operate from the office.  Huber says that the inter-department help is great, “What we're doing is using these cameras now as a tool now to monitor the streets; we can start seeing when the vehicles start tracking.  When the snow starts coming in we can see tracking going on, then we know that we have to start hitting the roads with chemical."

To this team, this quick blast of snowfall is no sweat.

Huber shook his head and grinned, "They are ready to go; this is second nature to them.  This is probably the best team in the Midwest.  These guys know how to do snow removal; they have it down to a fine art.”

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