Digging out after first major snowfall of the season

Posted at: 12/27/2012 5:10 PM
Updated at: 12/27/2012 7:34 PM
By: Ray Levato

The hum of snow blowers could be heard in our area Thursday as winter made its first major appearance this season. We were digging out Thursday morning. The worst is over though, from the first major snow storm to hit this area in two years. December almost got by without a significant snow event. This storm dumped a foot or more with the heaviest snowfall at the higher elevations south of Rochester.

Some snowfall totals: The airport: 11 inches, Greece: 14 inches and Sodus: 20 inches. The city and towns made pretty quick work of the major arterials. One plus was the brunt of the snow fell overnight and with school out for vacation, the storm wasn't a major disruption for people heading into work Thursday.

The city of Rochester has about 535 lane miles of streets that need to be plowed -- and more than 800 miles of sidewalks. A lot of workers were doing double shifts Thursday.

Paul Holahan, City Environmental Services Commissioner, said, “We haven't had a storm like this in the last couple of years. So it's been a challenging morning and afternoon. But the crews are working real hard. We've been able to keep our arterials in pretty good shape throughout the storm.”

A bigger challenge has been the city residential streets.

Reanne Ralston was one of hundreds of people digging out their cars that were parked on the street overnight.

Ralston said, “We don't have driveway parking. So last night when the snow came, we woke up for work this morning and my roommate said we can't get out. I think she took a cab to work and my boss said it was okay if I didn't come in, to just work from home.”

At 7pm, when the cars have to be moved over to alternate side parking, the city plans another residential plow run to clear the side where all the cars were parked Thursday. The irony is that the first plow run piled snow up against those cars parked on the street Wednesday night.

Holahan said, “The residents are part of the team here. They work hard. I know they get these cars moved and they've really got to get this done tonight because if you leave one car parked where it's not supposed to be, that means a street that can't be plowed. So we're asking residents, even though it's a tough task, to dig those cars out and moved to the other side of the road so we can clean up the other side of the street tonight.”

City plows were out to supplement the contractors plowing residential street. City plows are bigger and heavier and can push some of this heavy snow where the smaller contract plows were having problems. City refuse pickup will be delayed a second day. The first was for Christmas. Recycling pickups were also postponed.