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Road crews prepare for heavy, wet snow overnight

Posted at 8:55 PM, Jan 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-17 23:23:05-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.  — Crews in counties across West Michigan are gearing up to handle the messy roads expected throughout the morning.

The snow will likely be heavy and wet, posing some additional challenges for plows and people over the next several hours.

“The volume of snow we are looking at, a half inch an hour or more for an extended period of time, we’re going to scrape off the snow, but when it’s snowing at that rate it’s going to cover back up again,” Kent County Road Commission Director of Operations Jerry Byrne said.

The Kent County Road Commission will scrape and plow as much as they need to and then start salting roads.

“I would suspect, based on the forecast over a 48-hour period probably 2000 to 3000 tons of salt,” Byrne added.

Workers are hoping that drivers take it slow and don’t put themselves or plows in danger by traveling too fast for conditions.

“The standard is slow down, back off, stay 300 to 500 feet behind us,” Bryne said. “You don’t need to pass us, you need to have some patience and stay behind us, if you pass on the right and we are throwing that heavy wet snow off, it’s probably going to throw your car out of control,” he added.

The heavy wet snow is not just a challenge for drivers but also those who need to shovel it.

“It’s best to do it frequently especially with the wet heavy stuff that’s coming, if you can stay on top of and get it cleared frequently that would be best to decrease some of the heaviness of the snow,” Spectrum Health ER Nurse Meaghan Crawley said.

Crawley suggests taking your time and using proper technique to reduce the risk of injury or heart-attack.

“If you can push the snow instead of lifting it, if you do have to lift it, make sure you are using your legs, don’t use your back, make sure you are really using good body mechanics,’ Crawley explained.

“Most importantly pay attention to your surroundings, take your time, and stay in if it possible,” she added.

Most crews will hit the roads early Saturday morning and work throughout the day as it accumulates.