Tulsa readies for winter weather
BY BRIAN BARBER World Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 06, 2012
11/06/12 at 2:47 AM
Tulsans probably won't give winter much thought as temperatures climb into the 70s this week, but eventually it will come, and city officials say they are ready to respond.
"We seem to always pick a very nice day to talk about winter preparedness," Mayor Dewey Bartlett said Monday at a news conference.
"But one day in the not-too-distant future, it will be cold, and snow will fall. We are ready for it now, and we will be ready for it then."
The city has more resources to call upon this winter, with seven new truck-mounted, sand-and-salt spreaders for a total of 62, seven new truck-mounted snow plows for a fleet of 45 and one more motor grader that can be used as a plow for a total of four.
The equipment was purchased through the third-penny sales-tax program following the February 2011 blizzard that left Tulsa immobilized.
Spreaders and plows work 36 specific routes, which are prioritized based on traffic counts, Bartlett said.
"It takes a collaborative effort in order to make sure our streets get open as fast and as best as they can because they are the lifeblood of our community," he said, noting that the city has 170 employees dedicated to storm response including both drivers and support staff.
"The streets allow us to get our kids to school, travel to work and commercial establishments and basically get back to living life."
Last year's mild winter also has helped boost the city's salt supply to 14,500 tons, up 5,000 tons over the previous year.
A normal two- to three-day weather event requires about 3,000 tons.
Tulsa's winter resources are plentiful given its size and location in the country, Streets and Stormwater Department Director Dan Crossland said.
"Thirty years ago, we didn't even have a snow plow," he said. "If you go a little bit further south of here, when they have snow, they basically shut down."
National Weather Service meteorologist Steve Piltz said he's predicting a warmer than normal winter overall for Tulsa, but the city could still face a significant snowfall.
EMSA advises people have three to five days' worth of food, water and medications on hand before a storm. If residents lose power, they should stay with friends or family or at a shelter.
To avoid slips on ice when venturing out, people should wear nonslick shoes or boots and use cleats.
Motorists also should make sure they have plenty of gas and a road-safety kit including blankets, food, water and a cell phone.
City winter resources
- 62 truck-mounted sand-salt spreaders
- 45 truck mounted snow plows
- 4 motor graders for use as plows
- 14,500 tons of salt
- 170 employees, including drivers and support staff
Brian Barber 581-8322
Robert "Grizz" Keen, a heavy-equipment operator with the city of Tulsa, breaks up salt and sand outside the west maintenance yard Monday. CORY YOUNG / Tulsa World