City probably needs another snow plow
As the sun and warmer temperatures broke out on Wednesday and Thursday, many Tri-State residents were ready to put a long, difficult winter behind them.
March is known for its weather surprises, so there may be a few more flurries in the forecast. But the more than 33 inches of snow that have been recorded for Huntington since the fall of 2013 seems like enough. It was no record — Huntington got 60.9 inches in 1935-36 — but it will be remembered for a while.
Throughout it all, state and local road crews have done a commendable job of clearing roads and streets and opening them up to traffic as quickly as possible.
We thank the drivers, workers and supervisors for all their long hours and effort.
Unfortunately, the storm that came in Sunday night proved to be the most difficult of the season.
It began with a round of sleet, followed by about 3-4 inches of snow that continued to fall through midday Monday. Temperatures also plummeted, staying below freezing from Sunday afternoon until Tuesday afternoon and dipping to single digits Monday and Tuesday night.
That thin layer of ice underneath the snow made the job even harder.
“The ice has played a great factor,” Dwayne Scarberry, a supervisor for the West Virginia Division of Highways in Barboursville, told The Herald-Dispatch. “You can plow all you want, and you won’t necessarily plow that ice off until you actually get it down to the ice layer and start to melt it.” During the heart of the storm Monday morning, with local schools and Marshall University closed, many residents followed the wise approach and stayed home.
By late Monday afternoon, city crews had done much to clear the roads in many of Huntington’s hilly residential areas. However, much less progress was made on the streets downtown. So, Tuesday morning commuters found a mix of driving conditions with clear, dry pavement on some approaches to the city. But many of downtown’s busiest streets remained snow covered and t reac herou s .
City and state crews both have a role in clearing downtown streets, with the state responsible for the arteries such as 5th Avenue that are actually state highways.
But officials at both levels acknowledged that the problem stemmed not from a lack of effort or even manpower, but a lack of equipment. The state had trouble getting trucks to Huntington, and the city has only four trucks that can be equipped with plows. With one foot in the North and one foot in the South, it is not easy to gauge how much snow removal equipment our region should invest in. But as the city and state departments review the winter of 2013-2014, it would make sense to review whether some additional equipment is needed for downtown Huntington.
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