Last night?s snowfall sent Madison?s winter total plowing into
the record books, breaking the all-time snowfall record of 76.1 inches in
?Anytime you set records, it is sort of a momentous occasion,
but it doesn?t mean anything more than we?ll be out just like any other storm,?
said Madison streets superintendent Al Schumacher.
Jon Martin, University of Wisconsin chair of the atmospheric
and ocean sciences department said there is a lot of variability from one
winter to another, and it is difficult to put a finger on why this winter has
been so snowy.
?This is a very abnormal winter,? Martin said. ?We break the
all-time snowiest winter record, and we still have 5 or 6 weeks left for
Since Dec. 1, it has snowed 41 times in Madison, taking a
toll on everyone in the city, especially streets employees working 16-hour days
plowing streets and fixing potholes, Schumacher said.
On average, the streets division deploys plows five times
per season, Schumacher added. The city has already deployed plows 12 times this
season, nearly three times the average.
?I?d much rather have the record the other way, the least
amount of snow in the season,? Schumacher said, adding the snow equipment is
beginning to break down from such extensive wear.
According to Schumacher, funding for the streets division is
?all right for now? with the $4.5 million allocated by the city?s budget. He
said the streets division will see how it is doing by November and December
when the winter season starts up again, adding the streets division had to ask
for more money at the end of 2007.
?Regardless of the financial outcome, we will continue to
plow, salt and maintain the streets,? Schumacher said. ?Public safety is more
important than what the budget says we?re supposed to spend.?
This is one of those winters we are not going to see again,
Martin said, with continuously cold temperatures and very few rainy days.
Cold temperatures carried by northwesterly winds have not
ceased all winter. Madison has not seen westerly or southwesterly winds that
would bring warmer temperatures.
?We may crush this thing,? Martin said, referring to the
snowfall record. ?That?s what I?m hoping for, because all of us who live
through this will have seen the greatest snowfall ? in our lifetimes,
especially if we get to 100 inches.?
Schumacher said large item garbage pickup is suspended so employees can
focus on snow cleanup. Recycling and refuse pickup will continue today and
tomorrow as usual.?