You could consider the latest storm as the wintertime equivalent of summer’s “it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.”
In this case, “it’s not the snow, it’s the wind chill,” where it felt like -28 early Friday afternoon, on a temperature of -2.
-28, -2 … but who’s counting?
Well, the city’s Public Works Agency, for one. Only that city department was counting inches of snow, and the lower than predicted covering meant fewer workers needed to clear the streets, which then meant less expense for city taxpayers.
Public Works Director Edgar Cano tells Evanston Now that “the shorter duration and lower-than-expected accumulation helped keep costs down.”
However, Cano adds that the sub-freezing temperatures and blowing winds still forced the city to “increase our typical 2-inch storm staffing levels.”
Cano says that “overall, operations are going well,” with most main thoroughfares clear and wet, “except for those experiencing strong blowing and drifting snow.”
As of Friday afternoon, Cano says that the city has 18 staff members working on street operations, and another 10 maintaining parking lots and walkways.
The combined total of those employees is about half the number the city can mobilize for a full, major snowstorm response.
City spokesperson Patrick Deignan says Evanston budgeted $663,350 for snow removal/staffing in 2022, with about $46,000 remaining before the latest storm.
The 2022 budget for salt and other road materials is $625,000 with 147,000 remaining until this storm.
Before the start of each winter season, Deignan adds, the city has approximately 3,500 tons of salt, as well as supplies of other snow-and-ice melters, 3,000 gallons of Biomelt, 4,500 gallons of Beet Heet, and up to 18,000 gallons of made-in-house salt brine.
Some more of those chemicals, and some of the snow-clearing budget likely will be used Friday night, as Cano notes that “we expect to bring in a handful of night personnel to monitor for drifting and refreeze if current conditions continue.”