Steamboat Springs residents dig out from 23 inches of snow fall on valley floor in 3 days
January 5, 2017
Steamboat Springs — With a half-foot of new snow that fell overnight on top of 7 inches from Wednesday, the tight neighborhoods in Old Town Steamboat, where many cars in their driveways are close to street's edge, were the scene of determined snow-removal efforts Thursday morning.
Longtime resident Larry Worrell was finding that the snow in his driveway on Aspen Street was deep enough that his snowblower couldn't handle a full swath on every pass.
Stoic after all these years, Worrell said, "It's a good start to the winter, but we have a long way to go. We need this."
Worrell said he and his wife have been leaving their cars at home and taking the Steamboat Springs Transit bus to the ski area.
Weather observer Kate Gmeiner reported that her weather gauge between downtown and the mountain had received 3.3 inches on Jan. 3, another 7.1 inches on Jan. 4 and 12.6 inches on Jan 5 for a total of 23 inches. It was not snowing in the city of Steamboat Springs the morning of Jan. 5.
Over on Pine Street, Caitlin Murphy, a survivor of eight Steamboat winters, was using a wide scoop to push the snow out of her driveway.
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"This storm's a big one!" she exclaimed.
Murphy said the snow piled up in her driveway reminded her of the Feb. 20, 2012, storm that dumped a record 27 inches on the slopes of Steamboat Ski Area while leaving only about 11 inches in the valley. The ski area was reporting 20 inches in 24 hours and 32 inches in three days at mid-mountain as of Thursday.
A little further east on Pine, Brian Levier was shoveling out a small snow-encased sedan in order to get at the pickup truck parked in front of it in his driveway. But he was in no rush.
"There's nowhere I have to be any time soon," Levier said. "I was thinking about leaving them here for another day."
City of Steamboat snow-plowing crews would appreciate Levier's patience. They are reminding residents that, unavoidably, snow removal equipment will leave a windrow at the mouth of driveways as crews continue to push snow back from the edges of streets.
Snow-removal crews have been working long days this week. Street supervisor Tom Martindale said crews went to work at 2 a.m. Thursday, got off work at 1 p.m. and were due to return to work at midnight.
"The grader 'hands' (drivers) have been working pretty much 12-hour shifts since it started snowing," Martindale said.
Assuming the heavy snow of the previous 48 hours hadn't resumed as of midnight Jan. 5, the crews would focus on cleaning up Lincoln Avenue and the side streets through the night.
The city plowing crews comprise five grader hands and two loader hands, with four sand truck drivers for each of two shifts or a total of eight drivers.