Spring officially arrives on March 20, but Old Man Winter still has a firm grip on the metro area. Several inches of snow fell in the early morning hours on Thursday, prompting metro area schools to cancel classes. A number of businesses either closed or announced late starts.
As the snow began to pile up in the pre-dawn hours city street crews began plowing operations on the major streets. "Our primary focus is keeping those arterials open and running," says Omaha Street Maintenance Engineer Austin Rowser. "Our major streets are in ok shape right now. We've got some salt down on those."
Rowser says as the morning went on they were working on removing snow from secondary streets. They have 100 snow plows on the streets. Nearly 175 contractors hit the residential streets around 8:00 a.m. He says in the first 90 minutes they were 10-15 percent through those residential streets.
They will have 12 hours to clear those side streets. Once those streets are plowed, Rowser says city trucks will spread sand to give drivers better traction.
Rowser says there's a lot of slush the main roads, which he says is a good sign. "If it's slushy that means we have a little bit of melt, which means there's not bonding to the pavement. It's a little bit easier to peel off with that plow."