The first round of a winter storm had left less than 2 inches of snow on the ground by about 6 p.m. Wednesday, but the main storm is expected to dump an additional 15 inches on Salina by the end of the day today.
"The storm is going to hit pretty hard in the morning," National Weather Service meteorologist Robb Lawson said Wednesday. "Salina missed out on the initial stuff but the main show is going to come in the morning and we could see 9 to 15 inches of snow."
Lawson said the last time Salina saw 15 inches of snow from one storm was over a three-day period in 1983 -- Jan. 31 to Feb. 2.
The threat of heavy snow today prompted schools in Salina and Saline County to cancel classes.
"We have been watching the weather all day long," said Bill Hall, Salina School District superintendent. "We were confident that we could have school today (Wednesday), and that didn't go bad. With the forecast tomorrow, we are better off canceling and giving people advance notice."
Brent Buchwald, Salina's street superintendent, said snow plow operators are expected to be running 24 hours a day through Friday.
Clearing the Streets
Jim Heath, a Salina street department employee, spent most of Wednesday salting roads north of Crawford Street and west of Fifth Street. He was out from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
"We have to clear the main streets so traffic and emergency vehicles can get around," Heath said. Heath said residential neighborhoods are the secondary focus of the street crews, even though they were among the first salted Wednesday.
Heath has worked for the street department for 22 years. He said the most snow he ever cleared was about 14 inches.
Heath's truck dumped about 200 pounds of salt Wednesday for each mile traveled. His truck holds about six tons of salt.
"Earlier this morning, I was dumping 300 pounds of salt on the road for each mile," Heath said. "I have to refill about every hour when dropping about 200 pounds a mile. It lasts about 45 minutes when dropping 300 pounds."
Heath said traffic helps keep the main streets clean because it helps grind up the salt on the roads.
"The side streets look snow-packed because they don't have the traffic to crush the salt," Heath said. "If we set up a detour on a side street, it would be as clear as Broadway. It takes traffic to make salt work."
Stores Busy Early
Donna Dick, who works in shipping and receiving at Waters True Value, said customers had been in the store throughout the day buying supplies in anticipation of the storm.
"We have had quite a few people buying ice melt," Dick said. "People are buying batteries, snow shovels, flashlights, ice scrapers and snowblowers. Anything weather related."
Among those stocking up was Tim Puvogel, of Turf-Pro Services, which removes snow. He picked up three large bags of ice melt and an ice scraper at Waters.
Puvogel said he plans to be busy removing snow.
"We figure we are going to need extra ice melt with this weather," Puvogel said. "It is probably going to be an all-nighter, all-dayer and another all-nighter."
Mike Fuller, manager at Waters True Value, said another True Value truck is supposed to resupply the store today. Otherwise the store could run low.
Fuller said the storm will bring plenty of business, unless the snow keeps people indoors.
More on the way
Lawson said the storm will bring some much-needed moisture to Salina and the area, but it won't be the last. He said another storm system is expected to bring snow back Sunday and Monday.
"This other system could be another strong system," Lawson said. "This is a pretty active pattern."
Lawson said storms in February and March tend to bring more precipitation.
"I'm sure the farmers will be happy about that," Lawson said.
Distributed by MCT Information Services
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