Effort to clear Racine's streets of snow is underway

RACINE (WITI) -- Thursday's winter warm-up came just in time for "The Big Chill," Racine's annual snow and ice festival which kicks off Friday. But it also signaled the start of a huge effort to clear snow from the streets of Racine.

Vicki Hastings and Jeff Shawhan both expect a great turnout for the snow carving happening on Monument Square this weekend. 16 professional snow carvers will begin their work Friday afternoon -- each hacking away at 9,000 pounds blocks of snow.

"It should be great weather, cold enough to carve but warm enough people will want to come down and walk around," said Shawhan.

Ahead of Friday's kickoff, the city is carving out the snow it doesn't need piled along the streets.

"They can park more freely, get in out of businesses. So really it helps us with business as well as having a lot of people come downtown," said Vicki Nelson of Racine Downtown.

It's a tandem effort between giant snow blowers and plows. And this break in the bitter cold is allowing all parties to finish last-minute work for this big festival.