Waukesha Co. Highway Operations Manager: Never seen three snow events before Thanksgiving

WAUKESHA (WITI) -- We saw our first significant snowfall in southeastern Wisconsin on Monday, November 24th. Three to five inches of snowfall were expected to fall between Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning -- and the storm peaked during the evening rush hour Monday.

Even with not-so-terrible temperatures, there was no denying Monday Wisconsin's winter-like weather was affecting what is still, technically autumn.

Despite that though, Waukesha County Highway Operations Manager Peter Chladil said employees are prepared, whenever the snow does fall.

"In my almost eight years here as Highway Operations Manager, we've never had (three snow events before Thanksgiving)," Chladil said.

Chladil says last year's winter took a significant toll on tools and equipment, but he says crews started repairing and preparing early this season.

City of Waukesha Street Supervisor Steve Dziekan says crews started working the roads early Monday -- knowing it would only get worse as the day went on.

"Anytime around rush hour, whether it is morning or afternoon makes it extremely difficult for us. Everyone wants to get home," Dziekan said.

The Waukesha County Highway Department has 40 trucks prepared to plow and salt the roadways.

"We have a lot of salt under contract -- more than we had even for last winter," Chladil said.

Meanwhile, in the city of Waukesha, snow plow operators are in charge of roughly 1,000 lane miles throughout the city of Waukesha. Every few hours, they return to the municipal garage to refill their salt supply. Just in time, a 6,000-ton delivery was made on Monday.

"As long as it isn't like last winter, we'll be just fine," Dziekan said.

Some are concerned about a salt shortage this year.

"This year there's gonna be a shortage. When we're out, we may not get any more," Jim Olson with Olson's Ace Hardware said.

For now, Olson says supplies are set at the Waukesha store, but as the snow continues to fall and we see more snow events...

"We sold a pallet-and-a-half already, and before the snow even started. We'll probably sell another pallet tonight. People are scared that they are not going to have it, and they should be," Olson said.

Store owners attribute the shortage to overall supply and demand, but the good news for consumers is right now, prices are pretty much what they were last year.

Olson strongly encourages folks to stock up on snow-melting substances, and not necessarily salt. He says there are some new alternative products -- one of which he just began selling Monday which may help to ease the salt shortage struggles.

Waukesha County Highway Department crews will be out overnight to get the roads cleared in time for Tuesday morning's rush hour.