Kirstin Davis

First Snow Event by the Numbers

Kirstin Davis, Communications Manager – Public Works, 509.625.7773

Tuesday, December 21, 2021 at 12:59 p.m.

First Snow Event by the Numbers

Every year the City of Spokane’s Streets department dedicates hours and resources to prepare for snow removal and street maintenance. This includes materials research, training for designated and extra staff, equipment upgrades and efficiency with logistics. The City has 2,200 lane miles of streets including 750 lane miles of arterials. If you love stats and data, we think you’ll be impressed!

Dec. 16-19 by the Numbers

Total # of Staff Hours = 1,512 (that’s 63 days)
Average # of Vehicles = 25-30 per 24-hour period
Granular Deicer/Sand/Salt = 544 tons (that’s the weight of nearly 420 compact cars)
Liquid Deicer = 173,709 gallons (that’s over 4,135 bathtubs worth)
Total # of Miles of Streets Traveled = 7,062 (that’s like driving from Spokane to Miami, FL and back)

Weather events are different every time. The systems that come through Dec. 16-19 had some variables. First on Thursday, it was raining and then dropped four degrees in about an hour, turning all that water to smooth ice on the streets timed with the evening commute. City crews switched to almost exclusively granular deicer and sand at that point and simultaneously progress was slowed by the congested traffic that resulted from people driving slowly home.

The City’s snow plan is designed to be flexible so crews can respond to changing conditions. Adding satellite locations with materials and supplies increases that flexibility. Snow response is part art and part science. Forecasts help, but they aren’t perfect either.

Residents and businesses are an important part of the response plan and can help in the following ways:

  • Drivers can help by making sure they are prepared with traction tires and slowing down to drive according to winter conditions.
  • In the event of a weather-related traffic collision and no one is injured, Spokane Police recommend using the WSP online collision reporting system. SPD received over 200 calls for response to collisions within 30 hours.
  • Property owners remain responsible for clearing the sidewalk adjacent to their properties. The City asks residents and businesses to clear a 36-inch path to allow school children, disabled individuals, bus riders, and other pedestrians to move safely through the community.
  • Not everyone is capable of shoveling. Neighbors are asked to help one another with snow clearing. Seniors or disabled individuals also can call 3-1-1 to help get connected with volunteer services that may be able to help.

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