LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Lubbock City Manager Jarrett Atkinson held a news conference Monday afternoon to discuss the preliminary winter storm report from the weekend’s winter storm. He said this was the first test of a response plan put in place in January of 2017.
“I’ll tell you I’m very, very proud of your city staff,” Atkinson said. “I mean that all across the city, left to right, up and down. They did a great job in implementing something new and I think they did so effectively.”
Atkinson said the plan, carried out with support of many city departments, included new snow routes, increase in response assets or equipment and a mobilizations of those assets and city staff sooner.
“We didn’t leave anything on the table,” Atkinson said. “We put that out to go to work and, again, we have the support staff behind it to make it go.”
The city reported over 10 inches of snow in some places. Atkinson said a normal snowfall for the year in Lubbock is 11 inches.
The Parks & Recreation Department joined the Streets Department in ensuring the treatment and clearing of major roadways and areas around the medical district, fire and EMS buildings as well as schools. According to Atkinson, that included working 12-hour shifts to disperse at least 610 tons of salt and sand. Those operations continued Monday night in response to freezing water on roadways.
“It’s really the people that worked the heavy equipment, kept the streets open that really are the ones to make this happen and made it a success,” Public Works Director Wood Franklin said.
Fourteen hundred man hours were spent staffing the Emergency Operations Center to monitor road and weather conditions and provide logistical support to the crews out across the city responding to emergency calls, treating roads and more. Atkinson said the operations were decreasing at 11:00 a.m. Monday after activating at 6:00 a.m. Friday.
Atkinson said discussions were already underway to decide on ways to improve the city’s response. One thing the city officials were pleased about was the public’s decision to stay off roads and not hamper operations of road crews.
“We learn,” Atkinson said. “We’ll continue to learn. and I’d be totally remiss to not to thank the public for their efforts.”
The National Weather Service would like the public to continue to prepare for winter weather and cooperate with the requests of local authorities. These weather experts anticipate more snow, ice and moisture this year.
“We always like for folks to be prepared for winter but when we get into an El Niño year, which we are going into an El Niño, we have about an 80 percent chance,” Warning Coordination Meteorologist Jody James said. “It will probably continue through Winter and into Spring. We have a higher chance of seeing these winter conditions. One thing we are focusing on this year is driving and road conditions. That tends to be one of the biggest impacts we see.”
James said signs of a more active winter could be seen in Colorado and New Mexico where mountainous regions were already seeing large amounts of snow. This storm the South Plains experienced is just another indicator of a wet winter.
“I think we can probably, just statistically speaking, expect some more snow this winter,” James said. “We may not see another 10 inches but I think odds favor us seeing a few more storms. We’ve already passed our average which is nine inches, obviously, but I wouldn’t be surprised when all is said and done in early to mid-March, for example, when we add up the snow that we see several more inches throughout the winter and maybe a few more storms.”
For the latest snow storm resources from the City of Lubbock, click here.