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Snow removal: 'We're losing'

By DAWNE LEIKER
dleiker@dailynews.net

In the battle of man versus Mother Nature, it's not hard to see who's got the upper hand.

"We're losing," said I.D. Creech, city of Hays Public Works director Thursday morning.

City crews, working around the clock in 12-hour rotations were making little headway Thursday morning, as the winter storm redoubled its efforts dumping several more inches on top of the 10-inches already on the ground.

"We're concentrating on trying to keep the main routes open and the main emergency snow routes," he said. "We haven't even hit the secondary routes for probably four or five hours because we can't get at them.

Dealing with motorists stuck on the roadways and the lack of visibility due to blowing snow also posed difficulties for city snow removal. Crews were pulling out all the stops to get their jobs done.

"Every piece of equipment we have is moving snow," Creech said. "Whatever department we have: utilities, parks department ..."
"We're getting some of their people and all of the equipment we can out here. We're pushing everything we can."

Creech said if more snow comes Monday, as the National Weather Service has predicted, pushing that snow could become increasingly tricky. He requested that residents not pile snow in the streets in an effort to keep those areas clear for traffic.

Residents worked off and on Thursday clearing driveways and sidewalks on the city's quiet snow-drifted streets. As snow tapered off late Thursday afternoon, Wilfred Kreutzer cleared the driveway of his home on Marjorie Drive. He said he had been shoveling and snow blowing throughout the day, "a little bit here and there."

The last snow of this magnitude that Kreutzer, longtime Hays resident, said he had seen was in 1967.

"I think that was worse yet," he said. "It was about waist deep out here."

Shoveling the drifts left by Q likely will continue to be a daunting and potentially health-threatening task throughout the clean-up process.

Although the number of emergency calls related to the storm have not been extreme, Ellis County Emergency Medical Service Director Kerry McCue said residents should be careful when heading outside during or after a winter storm.

"If you're not in good physical condition, hire somebody to do that strenuous work, so you don't ever-exert yourself," he said. "I think anytime someone goes out in inclement weather, they need to dress appropriately and make sure they're safe."