Winchester Braces for Blizzard
The snow is expected to drop anywhere from 12 to 20 inches.
The Winchester Department of Public Works prepares for the snowstorm that should begin around noon on Sunday and, according to the National Weather Service (NWS) will drop anywhere from 12 to 20 inches of snow.
According to Mike Wise of the DPW, the town's 27 plow routes and six trucks will be out to first sand the roads and then after three inches have accumulated, the DPW will begin to snow removal.
"We're ready for anything," Wise said. "Heavy, light, whatever happens we'll be ready. Every Friday morning we have a meeting to go over everything. We always prepare for the worst."
Wise explained that the DPW will first focus its attention on the main roadways in Winchester – Mount Vernon, Church, Main Street – first.
"Wherever the storm goes and whatever it does we'll be ready," Wise said.
On Saturday afternoon the NWS issued a blizzard warning, which is in effect from noon on Sunday until 6 p.m. Monday night.
According to the NWS, a blizzard warning is issued when sustained winds or gusts hit at least 35 mph with a significant amount of falling, blowing and drifting of snow. During this time visibility will be poor with whiteout conditions. The NWS warns that people who go outside could become lost or disoriented and that people should stay indoors.
Heavy snow is predicted along with damaging winds. There will also be snow drifts and at times late Sunday afternoon into night the NWS is predicting that there will be no zero visibility.
The NWS is also predicting widespread power outages Sunday night.
"Strong winds will combine with the snow to create blinding conditions with near zero visibility at times Sunday night," the NWS statement reads. "Widespread power outages are expected during the height of the storm Sunday night from both the strong winds knocking down power lines and the weight of the heavy snow. Shoveling should not be done by anyone with heart conditions."
According to the town's snow and ice removal procedure, it can take anywhere from four to six hours to complete the snow removal process after the snow has stopped.
Wise also explained that starting on Nov. 15 there is a parking ban in effect. So, there should be no cars parked on the streets. However, Wise said that in most cases even if there are cars parked on the street they've been able to solve the problem without towing the vehicle.
"It usually works," Wise said. "Most times we're able to get the cars moved. The residents help us out and we can mostly find the owner. It hasn't been a problem."
Wise did go on to say though that it is easier when the cars are already off the street.
If residents want to help the DPW they can clear hydrants and drains of snow; keep fences, mailboxes, basketball hoops, bike/skateboard ramps, etc. away from the edge of the road; don't park on the road; limit travel if possible; don't shovel, plow or blow snow back into the roadway. This is a public safety hazard, which is illegal, and residents may be subject to a fine. Sand and salt is available to Winchester residents at the Transfer Station on McKay Avenue.