Mayor Stothert statement and information on snowstorm preparation and day-of operations

Mayor Stothert statement and information on snowstorm preparation and day-of operations

Although my husband and I were out of town on a short personal trip, I have been in regular and ongoing contact with our Public Works Department team and other city personnel regarding snow pre-treatment operations and our work today to clear the snow as soon and as safely as possible. This long-planned trip was not a secret as we had advised key city staff members and the Omaha City Council of my plans.

As is always the case on those few occasions I am out of the city, I am in regular contact with my staff and department leaders to direct operations and provide leadership.

Snow and ice storms are particularly challenging during rush hour and are especially so when school is in session. This morning was no exception. The citizens’ safety is our primary concern.

In preparation for the snow event this morning the Omaha Public Works Department provided the following pre-treatment and snow removal efforts:

  • Brine operations started at noon on Monday. All residential, main and secondary streets were pre-treated with brine. This year is the first year that residential streets have been prioritized during brine operations. Pre-treatment with brine is recommended by the Federal Highway Administration and the American Public Works Association and has proven to be effective, inexpensive and reliable in certain weather conditions.
  • Public Works crews have been on 12-hour shifts since Monday.
  • A total of 110 city plows transitioned to snow plow operations when the snow started accumulating overnight.
  • A total of 190 contract plows started in neighborhoods at 8:00 am today, as snow accumulations neared the two-inch mark. (Note: the previous standard for residential plowing was after 4 inches of accumulation. This improvement was part of our overhaul of snowstorm policies.)
  • Current service for main streets is to have snow cleared three hours after the snow stops. The snow ended around 10:30 today and by noon, main streets were mainly wet.
  • Our adopted level of service on residential streets is to have them passable 12 hours after snow ends, if total accumulation in less than four inches of snow.

Snow and ice storms are always challenging and public safety is our first concern. Trying to politicize these weather events is a disservice to the citizens of Omaha.