Local DPW, DOT crews prepare for Christmas storm

A lot of snow is going to melt as a strong storm system moves in on Christmas with heavy rain, which could result in flooding.

Posted: Dec 21, 2020 5:41 PM
Updated: Dec 21, 2020 5:59 PM

Road conditions won't be the best on Christmas Day. Utica DPW and New York State DOT crews are getting ready for the storm.

A lot of snow is going to melt as a strong storm system moves in on Christmas with heavy rain, which could result in flooding. Crews are still cleaning up from the last snowstorm, but they are ready for the next one. The NYSDOT Public Information Officer, Jim Piccola, says "24/7 you know during the snow and ice season, our folks are out here. And the same with Christmas, we'll be fully staffed."

Right now, they are prepping the sides of the roads to prevent flooding. Mr. Piccola says "Highways where you just have a shoulder, what we do is we punch in weeps every so often so if the water is running down, it can run off the highway."

On local roads in Utica, they are clearing out the catch basins to prevent flooding. The Utica DPW Commissioner, Dave Short, says "The snow is going to act just like it does in the fall with the leaves. The leaves cover over the catch basins and then the water can't get into it. The snow does the same thing. So in our troubled areas, we'll go through and open up all the catch basins the best we can."

Homeowners can help out too and be prepared for the storm. Mr. Short says "The homeowner should make sure the end of their driveways are clear. If there's a catch basin in front of their house, they should try to clear it as best they can. Even if they open up just a little bit to allow that water down into it. And have some salt on hand in case we get a deep freeze and everything gets icy."

But the Utica DPW isn't putting salt down yet. Mr. Short says "Because of the weather with the rain, it's very hard to put salt down because the rain will just wash the salt away. So it's going to have to be really close to when the rain stops and when the deep freeze comes in. We're going to have to be right there ready to put salt down on the roads."

They will be also be right there to clean up the snow on Christmas Day. Make sure to keep your distance and give these snow plows their room as they do their job. 

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