City Desk

Snow Storm Facts: Too Much Money, Too Little Salt

march_snow-2

This unrelenting winter has been rough on the District's salt supply. At the onset of today's snowstorm, the District had only 25 percent of this season's salt reservoir left, though officials said today they are confident they have enough to make it through this storm. (The city started this snow season with 35,000 tons of salt, according to a recent WAMU report.)

At a press conference this morning, Mayor Vince Gray and other city officials talked snow, salt, and emergency advisories. He was unsure when the city would lift the snow emergency, but, rest assured, the mayor said, it will be lifted as soon as it "seems prudent."

Some other fun and/or practical facts about this most recent snowfall:

  • Department of Public Works Director Bill Howland says trash collectors will be working overtime, but warns that trash pickup will be very difficult this week. If the last snowstorm is any indication, it could be a few weeks before some residents get their trash cleared.
  • Pepco reports that only six people have lost their power today, as of around 2 p.m.
  • There have been 25 "snow events" since Nov. 1.
  • Before this snowstorm, the city was already $2.5 million over budget for snow removal. Gray said the city would not be cheap this storm, and will move around funds to cover the shortfall, rather than just letting snow pile up. Last season, the city was $1.7 million under its $6.2 million budget.
  • The city won't be using much beet juice on the roads and sidewalks this storm. According to Howland, because the storm started as rain, they didn't pour the brine solution because it just would have been washed away. The city started this snow season with $18,000 worth of beet juice on hand.
  • The West End Library will be open today for homeless people who need shelter.
  • Once buses can drive on the streets, D.C. will deploy bus warming stations for homeless people who don't want to check into shelters. These stations will have food and portable bathrooms.
  • During the Feb. 13 snowstorm, the city towed more than 200 cars parked on snow emergency routes. Howland was unsure how many the city towed today, but said when he was driving around at 4 a.m., he saw fewer cars parked illegally than he did last month.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery. 

 

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