MILWAUKEE -- We could see the first measurable snowfall in southeastern Wisconsin Thursday, and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Milwaukee Department of Public Works Commissioner Ghassan Korban held a press conference Wednesday afternoon to discuss the city's preparedness to handle any snow we should see this week.
Two months ago, Mayor Barrett held a press conference near 14th and Walnut in Milwaukee to talk about the city's winter preparedness plans. That was back on November 10th, and it's now January 10th, and with the lack of snow we've seen thus far this winter, the salt pile sits relatively untouched.
That could all change as we end this work week, when it's predicted the area will get more than four inches of snow.
However, the lack of snowfall so far this winter has been great for Milwaukee's city budget. In 2011, the city had gone over budget for its snowfall response, but now they've gone eleven days into January without any snow, and that has the mayor feeling pretty good about staying on budget, or even being under-budget this year.
"This season, our snowfall is currently at 1.7 inches, compared to about 12.3 inches last year, so we are far behind where we were last year, I could not be happier about that. I know for some snow enthusiasts that's probably not good news, but at least as it pertains to our city budget, I think that's very very good news," Mayor Barrett said.
The Milwaukee Department of Public Works says they have 96 salt trucks on standby, and they're ready to roll when conditions warrant. DPW says the salt trucks will address the major arterial roads to make sure motorists and buses can move safety through the city. Neighborhood and side streets will also be salted. "We expect the span of the storm to last about 18 hours so we will have time to adjust and become as effective as we can," DPW Commissioner Ghassan Kerban said.
Residents are reminded to adhere to winter parking rules. Streets near the east side and south side will employ the four-inch rule. You're not allowed to park on the street when there are four inches of snow or more. The DPW Snow Mobile - Winter Text Alert is available to residence and businesses that want to be informed when the city declares a snow emergency, or when the four-inch rule is in effect.
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation, along with the Wisconsin State Patrol is encouraging motorists to keep an eye on changing weather conditions over the next two days. Motorists who plan to travel are urged to check conditions before leaving. You can also check road conditions by calling 511, or if you have a smartphone or web-enabled phone, you can go to www.511wi.gov.