How Much is Too Much and Can We Afford It?
While some students may be enjoying the time off from school due to the snow and cold weather, for others, this latest blast of the Polar Vortex is causing some other major headaches for those charged with public safety.
Snow levels so far this season are higher in most communities in Michigan than they normally are for an entire season. And that is prompting concern of salt shortages to clear roadways and having to break budgets set aside for snow removal.
In the mid and central parts of the lower peninsula, west Michigan is by far the winner--or loser, depending on how you're looking at it--in snow totals. Statistics from the National Weather Service show Muskegon has gotten 90 inches of snow so far this year. Detroit and Flint have both surpassed their previous records and Grand Rapids has tied its highest numbers ever recorded with still months of winter to go!
Salt trucks have been out in force for much of the month and expect to continue to be working overtime until at least mid February. That could end up costing the state and local communities hundreds of millions of dollars they hadn't planned for. Salt in some areas is also in short supply causing road crew executives to scramble to try to find more. That could turn out to be challenging, since many--if not most--other parts of the country are dealing as well with unseasonably cold and snowy conditions.