Budgeting for winter weather - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Budgeting for winter weather

Thursday's storm hit earlier than expected, taking many by surprise. Thursday's storm hit earlier than expected, taking many by surprise.

The roads are finally clear, after Thursday's icy mess, but cleanup crews and law enforcement are already planning for the next snow event.

A lot goes into preparing for wild winter weather, which is why state troopers and Huntsville's public works department start the process months in advance.

Combating all that snow and ice takes a lot of extra resources, so they have to budget every last detail, from money to manpower.

Thursday's storm hit earlier than expected, taking many by surprise.However, those who watch the roads were ready for it.

"The staff knows what to do, where to go, and how to do it. There is nothing you can tell them they don't know," said Huntsville Public Works Director Terry Hatfield.

Almost three dozen people worked throughout the night to keep the snow and ice off the streets.

"We have certain spots we know to go check like Green Mountain, Monte Sano, and Cecil Ashburn," said Hatfield.

But the preparation for this storm started long before Thursday.

"A couple months before, they start putting salt spreaders on the trucks," added Hatfield.

All the extra resources come at a price.

They are paid for with the street maintenance money that has to last all year long.

"There is close to $700,000 in that budget and then we have a separate overtime account," explained Hatfield.

State troopers are also budgeting for winter weather.

They call in extra officers to work longer shifts.

"We've had guys work 18-20 hours. It just depends on what the conditions are," said Trooper Curtis Summerville.

Their job is to patrol the highways for dangerous spots and stranded drivers.

"A lot of tractor-trailers were jack-knifing and a lot of cars were running off the roads and into ditches," said Summerville.

After the big mess on Interstate 65, the Department of Public Safety plans to figure out what they can do differently next time.

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