City Prepares for Snow - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

City Prepares for Snow

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If you've been tracking the KULR-8 forecasts the last day or so, you know there's a winter storm on its way.

Many people have been preparing for winter weather, including the city of Billings. Snow plows are likely to be at work once the snow starts. "We split the city up into an east side and a west side," says Billings Deputy Public Works Director Vern Heisler, "so in other words we don't start at one side of the town and just plow our way across till we get to the other side. We split up, and we start on both sides at the same time."

Plows start with larger streets, like 24th Street West and Rimrock Road, before moving on to smaller streets. They also lay down snow melt to help keep the roads clean. "We've got kind of an ice melt, sand mixture that we put in certain areas," says Heisler. "We put it at controlled intersections. And by controlled intersections, I'm talking about where there's a signal."

But keeping the roads clear isn't the only task during winter weather. Northwestern Energy Spokesman Butch Larcombe says, "This time of year, when it's one of the first significant storms of the season, and we still have a lot of trees with leaves on them, there's probably more potential for damage, you know, just because it might be a wet snow, and its more than likely it'll break limbs."

Northwestern Energy will do its best to keep the power on, but can't predict where crews will be needed most. "We just have our crews on, ready to go, and we have people that are on call all the time, and so we just call them as we need them," says Larcombe.

Regardless of how much snow we get this weekend, it's always a good idea to give plows and work crews a wide berth. "Our crews generally work a 12 hour shift when it starts snowing, and that means they're out there in the middle of the night, and they're out there during the day," says Heisler. "And if people could just exercise a lot of caution when they see our plows out there, and if they could exercise a little patience, that would be great as well."

Northwestern Energy also wants its natural gas customers to remember to keep snow away from the vents on the outside of their homes. And as always, never approach downed power lines. Instead, report downed lines and any power outages by calling the Northwestern Energy hotline at 1 (888) 467-2669.