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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • County collecting cleanup costs

  • The evidence of twin snowstorms that struck last week is still visible just about anywhere, despite Monday's warmer temperatures.
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  • The evidence of twin snowstorms that struck last week is still visible just about anywhere, despite Monday's warmer temperatures.
    By the end of this week, Leavenworth County officials hope to have an estimate of just how much it cost to deal with the events Feb. 21 and 26 that together dumped about 20 inches of snow in parts of the county.
    County Emergency Manager Chuck Magaha said Monday that the county's cleanup costs will have to equal at least $231,000, or $3.33 per resident, to qualify for reimbursements from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, should the state seek a snow emergency declaration.
    “Will we hit that $231,000? I don't know, it's going to be close,” Magaha said.
    Regardless of whether the county meets that threshold, however, Magaha said the storms, considered one in the same for the purposes of the declaration, did cause plenty of problems for the county. At the storm's peak, approximately 4,500 electric customers in Leavenworth County were without power. One building, the Eagles Banquet Hall in Linwood, experienced a roof collapse as a result of the snow.
    Mike Spickelmier, director of county public works, said his department deployed crews around the clock for five and a half days during the storms, working to clear the 470 miles of gravel roads and 265 miles of paved roads for which the county has responsibilities. They used approximately 1,500 tons of salt and sand mix, 700 tons of straight salt, 3,000 gallons of liquid calcium chloride and two pallets of calcium chloride pellets.
    “The bottom line is it was a very snow-heavy, moisture-heavy event,” Spickelmier said.
    Overall, Magaha said he thought residents of the county and the Kansas City metropolitan area seemed to heed the warnings not to drive during either storm. The county did set up three warming centers for those whose power was knocked out by the storm, though he said none were utilized.
    In a more positive note, Magaha said in his report that the 20.5 inches of snow that fell here over the course of the two storms will equate to about 2 inches of moisture to help make up for the ongoing drought-fed rainfall deficit.

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