SHERIDAN — Don’t let all this warm, sunny weather fool you.
While many Sheridan residents have been spotted raking lawns and walking dogs in shorts and flip-flips, memories of a winter virtually forgotten, February was colder and snowier than usual and the National Weather Service forecast indicates more snow may be on its way in March.
High temperatures over the weekend will hover in the 40s and 50s with scattered rain and snow showers and possible snow accumulations of 1 to 2 inches.
Climate data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration indicates that the mean temperature in February was 24.5 degrees, 2.1 degrees colder than normal.
Precipitation totals in February were .79 inches, or one-quarter inch more than normal.
Statistics from the city of Sheridan, Sheridan County and Wyoming Department of Transportation snow removal efforts also indicate that winter had a definite grip on February.
In Sheridan County, WYDOT crews spent 3,608 man hours plowing roads, versus 2,068 man hours in February of last year. Crews applied more than 4,000 more tons of salt/sand this February than last and dropped 18,842 gallons of liquid de-icer. That is 11,480 gallons more than the amount applied last February. WYDOT removed snow on approximately 312 miles of roadway in Sheridan County in February.
From October 2012 to today WYDOT has dropped 61,913 gallons of liquid de-icer, applied 19,307 tons of salt/sand and worked 10,400 man hours to keep roads cleared.
“Although WYDOT is constantly looking for more efficient ways to clear the roads, and our crews are out there working hard to keep them clear, it is also the motorist’s job to drive cautiously, pay extra attention to signs and drive defensively,” WYDOT Public Relations Specialist Ronda Holwell said. “Remember to give snowplows plenty of room to work, don’t tailgate and try not to pass.”
The Wyoming Department of Transportation removes snow on all state highways, which covers most roadways leading out of the city of Sheridan, Holwell said.
These include Interstate 90, Highway 14 West from Parkman to Ranchester to Dayton and over the Bighorn Mountains, Highway 14 East to Ucross, Decker Highway, Big Goose Highway, Highway 335 to Big Horn, Big Horn Avenue past the Girl’s School, Highway 87 to Story, Coffeen Avenue past Sheridan College from the intersection with Brundage Lane and portions of the road to the Big Horn Equestrian Center among others.
The city of Sheridan streets department also stayed busy last month.
The city is responsible for roads in city limits except for the select few covered by county crews or WYDOT.
City snow removal crews applied 197 tons of Ice Slicer to city streets, bringing the year-to-date total (December 2012 to now), to 326 tons. Crews also dropped a total of 6,675 gallons of salt brine.
In December and January, city crews worked 371 man hours to plow 2,711 miles of road. In comparison to those milder months, February snows required 1,499 man hours to plow 7,169 miles of road and crews hauled 24,384 cubic yards of the white stuff.
“We are extremely thankful to the public for their help in keeping vehicles off the snow routes when they have been declared and also the street crews for their hard work and dedication this winter,” City engineer Lane Thompson said.
Sheridan County Road and Bridge Program Manager Pete Husman said crews have dropped 599 tons of sand and worked 2,210 man hours to plow 31,979 miles of county roads so far this winter.
Sheridan County cares for approximately 530 miles of road in the county, Husman said. Most of the roads are unpaved, shale roads, but there are a few paved ones skirting city limits. The county plows Airport Road, Fifth Street west of Mydland Road (Soldier Creek Road), Mydland Road north of Fifth Street and West 17th Street, among others.