Winter weather preview

Snow removal crews in Greene County are preparing for the upcoming winter

Snow removal crews around the area are preparing for the upcoming winter weather. According to a press release from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Greene County area will experience slightly more precipitation than average, along with slightly warmer temperatures than average. 

The forecast is also playing a part in the snow removal preparations. Bryan Cumberledge, street department manager for the Waynesburg Borough Public Works Department, expects the winter weather to differ from area to area, but ultimately be average.

“I think that all depends on where you live and that kind of thing,” he said. “It might snow in one area and not in the next.”

Preparations aren’t limited to preparing for the predicted forecast. According to Jay Ofsanick, PennDot’s spokesperson for District 12, PennDot is prepared for a variety of winter weather. 

“Our drivers have already gone through training, and we have plenty of material on site so we are pretty much ready for any type of winter weather that comes,” he said. “Obviously, it could change from day to day, but whatever does come, we are prepared in Greene County,”

Ofsanick added that PennDot prepares for the severest of conditions even if they do not occur.

“We anticipate the worst, and we are prepared for it to be a winter like that or a more mild winter, but right now we are prepared to take on all the different weather events as they come,” he said.

According to Ofsanik, PennDot operates a total of 28 plow trucks in Greene County. The Waynesburg Borough adds four more plow trucks of its own.

“We have three dump trucks with plows and we have one [Ford) F-250 with a plow, and we mostly use the F-250 for parking lots and alleys, where it’s smaller and places that its hard to get through with the eight to nine foot plows on the dump trucks.”

Ofsanik said that PennDot used 905 tons of rock salt last year, and Cumberledge said that the Borough itself uses three to four hundred tons of salt each winter. 

“We get ours from American rock salt, and it’s on a me-too agreement,” he said. “The state of Pennsylvania makes agreements with salt vendors, and we are allowed to piggyback on those to get the best price.”

According to Ofsanik, PennDot wants drivers to be cautious on the roads and to give the plow trucks some extra space to put down the salt.

“When we do have a snow event and they see our trucks out there, to give them a little bit of room. Don’t follow them too close,” he said. “Even though the salt and antiskid that we put down doesn’t bounce very far, if you are right on the tail stem, the material could be something that comes into contact with the car and we don’t want that to happen. So give them a hundred to two hundred feet of clearance, give them time to keep the roadways clear.”

The PennDot website mentions that drivers should make sure that their vehicle is prepared for the winter. The website also states that drivers should carry an emergency kit and cell phone, be cautious around bridges and other wet surfaces and allow more time for stops and starts. Ofsanik echoed the website’s recommendations as well as encouraging people to take their time.

“We always try to tell people if you know a snow event is coming in the morning, maybe give yourself an extra ten minutes to get to work, 15 minutes. Most people get themselves into trouble trying to drive too fast in snow because they didn’t give themselves that extra time,” Ofsanik said. “Leave a little early, be prepared to drive a little bit slower and drive carefully when a winter event happens.”