Archive for Wednesday, December 17, 2003

A week of wintry weather

Storms leave Baldwin under blanket of snow

December 17, 2003

The weather kept Leisha Petersen outside much of last week, but not because it was nice. Instead, Petersen was outside trying to shovel the ice and snow off the sidewalk in front of Stephens Real Estate where she works.

Two storm systems rolled through Baldwin last week coating the area with sleet and ice before leaving several inches of snow.

Petersen spent Wednesday and Thursday cleaning off the downtown sidewalk following last Tuesday's storm only to have to shovel several inches of snow after a second system went through the area Saturday.

"I'd throw ice melt out, wait for that to break it up, then scoop away," she said.

Petersen doesn't dislike winter, but she said she's not always fond of what it leaves behind.


"I don't mind a little bit, but I'm not real fond of it," she said. "I like the snow, but not the ice."

Which is exactly what kept the Baldwin School District from having school Wednesday. Supt. James White said he thought last Tuesday's coating of ice before the snow was what made the roads treacherous enough to cancel school.

"The snow and ice pellets froze before the snow started," White said. "So most of the roads were very slick at 4:30 in the morning."

The roads were slick enough that he and several other superintendents from surrounding schools decided to cancel classes for the day.

But White said roads were cleared in time and caused no problems for school on Thursday.

"We didn't have any problems in the district Thursday," he said. "All the buses and district vehicles were able to drive their routes."

Baldwin Utility Director Terry McKinney said crews started treating city streets about 9 p.m. last Tuesday in an effort to keep up with the storm. He said they continued to sand, salt and plow streets through Wednesday afternoon.

"Then we salted all day Thursday and all day Friday on the areas that refroze," McKinney said.

Crews were back out again early the following morning as they plowed through city streets, many of them twice, to clear the several inches of snow that fell.

"We hit them as quick as we could," he said.

McKinney said the city works to clear main streets, like Sixth and Eighth streets first.

"After that we try to open up the school routes," he said. "We always concentrate on trying to get them open as soon as possible."

The streets running north and south are cleared next, then crews take to the streets running east and west.

"The reason we do that is because the north south streets are the more main thoroughfares," he said.

McKinney said the street cleanup was relatively smooth because the city had already tested the equipment and had an adequate supply of salt and sand.

"We were pretty well prepared for it to hit," he said.

Drivers must have been prepared for the bad weather, too. Police Chief Mike McKenna said there were only a few minor, non-injury traffic accidents related to the snow and ice.

"We didn't really have anything out of the ordinary happen," McKenna said.

Though her children enjoyed the snow, Petersen said she and her husband are ready for winter's end.

"I've had enough," she said. "I'm sure my husband has, too. He had to scoop snow at home."

Commenting has been disabled for this item.