Carroll County received between 4 and 6 inches of snow Friday morning, closing schools and delaying county government operations.
According to Doug Brown, deputy director of Carroll’s Department of Public Works, the county snow team responsible for salting and plowing roads, met Thursday afternoon to plan for the winter weather event.
The first snow events of the season create “hard-packed snow” on the roads, after snowfall partly melts on the warm roadway and then freezes, he explained.
“It becomes crunchy and hard to get rid of,” he said.
Brown said the COVID-19 pandemic “has certainly impacted” his workforce. The department is currently down 10 drivers due to COVID-related protocols.
“That equates to ... multitudes of routes we have to double-up on and that slows us down,” he said. “We have 64 plow routes throughout the county.”
Typically, a salting operation through the whole county can be completed in about two hours and plowing can be completed in about eight hours.
“A shortage adds a couple hours to that,” Brown said, noting that the snow team is not the only department impacted.
Brown said the fleet operations have been short on mechanics as well, with four of the eight currently unavailable because of COVID-19.
“There are 82 pieces of equipment on the roads and that means breakdowns. … That requires our fleet operations. We’re very fortunate to have a dedicated team. We’re working very hard to keep the roads open and keep our customers in Carroll County moving.”
Carroll County’s budget for all storm-related expenses this year, including snow removal, totals $2,201,160. So far this fiscal year, about $130,000 has been spent, not including expenses from the recent storm or others that have not yet been put into the department’s financial management system.
Due to the inclement weather, Carroll County government offices opened at 10 a.m., two hours later than normal, to allow safe travel for commuters around the county. The Northern Landfill and the Carroll Transit System and Trailblazer also instituted two-hour delays and opened at 10 a.m.
“Everything opened other than the airport operations,” Brown said, noting more time was needed to get rid of ice on the runway. Carroll County Regional Airport operations resumed shortly after 2 p.m., Friday.
The snowfall closed Carroll County Public Schools Friday as well, requiring the school system to use the second of three snow days built into the school calendar. The first was used Sept. 23 due to road closures from flooding and downed trees.
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Carey Gaddis, communications officer for the school system, said there were no problems removing snow in school parking lots.