Elgin public works expenses piling up with snow this winter
By Mike Danahey firstname.lastname@example.org @DanaheyECN January 16, 2014 9:54PM
Elgin snowplows have been kept busy on city streets so far this winter. | Sun-Times Media file
Updated: February 22, 2014 6:03AM
ELGIN — While the Elgin area copes with more snow and subzero temperatures this week, the numbers are stacking up significantly higher than last year in costs of dealing with wintry weather.
According to information provided by city of Elgin CFO Colleen Lavery, from Nov. 1, 2013, to Jan. 12, the city used 6,733 tons of salt — more than 10 times the 648 tons used for the same period in 2012-13.
Costs this winter for public works overtime through Jan. 12 were $337,848, compared to $61,135 for the same time frame a year ago.
During the blizzard of 2011 — from Jan. 31 through Feb. 8 of that year — the city estimated it spent $220,487 on public works overtime and used 1,524 tons of salt. The Feb. 1-2 snow measured 14 to 23 inches at points across the Chicago region, brought winds of more than 50 mph and was one of the worst winter storms in the area on record.
City Manager Sean Stegall noted that some people may have forgotten just how tame the last two winters were. In 2012-13, the National Weather Service in Chicago measured a total of 30.1 inches of snow for the winter season, and just 19.8 inches total in the mild winter of 2011-12.
During the winter of 2010-11 — which saw the Feb. 1 blizzard — the Chicago-area snowfall total for the season was 57.9 inches, which was just a bit more than the 54.2 recorded in 2009-10.
According to the National Weather Service, the average snowfall in Chicago for a winter is 38 inches. Just 9.8 inches fell the entire 1920-21 season, and a whopping 89.7 inches fell during the winter of 1978-79.
This winter, as of Jan. 15, more than 35 inches of snow already has fallen across the Chicago area, while the region also has dealt with set some record-setting low temperatures and one of its coldest winters in recent memory. According to reports, based on National Weather Service data, Chicago is on pace to have its seventh snowiest and ninth coldest winter since 1884-85.
More statistics are available online at www.crh.noaa.gov/lot/?n=chi_seasonal_snow.