Knoxville — If Knoxville and Marion County are hit with heavy snowfall, as predicted, on Thursday, road crews already have a plan in place.
According to information received from Marion County Emergency Management, the Des Moines National Weather Service held a webinar and conference call yesterday regarding a possible strong winter storm on Thursday. This storm will push from the southwest to the northeast of Iowa by late Thursday night. Widespread snowfall combined with strong winds will lead to significant impacts.
Snow will develop late Thursday morning and continue into the evening, the NWS said. The heaviest snowfall is likely to occur during Thursday afternoon into the rush hour and evening, according to forecasts. Accumulations will range between 6-10 inches with higher amounts possible. Marion County is in the heaviest snowfall range, as south of Highway 30 is expected to receive the most snow. Heavy winds are also expected.
"We will have all five trucks ready to go by tomorrow morning," Knoxville Street Superintendent Dennis Webb tells the Journal-Express. The City's plan is to keep roadways open and, when the snow stops, clear as well as possible. Webb said the department is also keeping a lookout on a possible snowfall that may follow.
Marion County Engineer Roger Schletzbaum said he intends to start County trucks late Thursday morning. Road graders will be out early Friday, after the snow is expected to have stopped.
Long days are expected for Road Department employees on Friday and Saturday. Schletzbaum's goal, if weather cooperates, is to have all of the county's gravel roads cleared by noon Saturday.
The budget impact of overtime is not a major concern for the Marion County Secondary Road Department. Schletzbaum said most snows have been managed with little overtime. Webb said he knows City crews will put in eight man hours, but overtime will be determined by City Manager Harold Stewart or Assistant City Manager Dylan Feik.
Schletzbaum cautions drivers that there will be a period of time, if the snow falls, when road conditions will deterioriate. He asks for patience and suggests that drivers avoid or postpone unnecessary travel during the heaviest snowfall.