By Cory Smith and Kelli Ameling
Daily News staff writers
GREENVILLE — Road crews in Montcalm County have been working diligently last night and again early this morning, plowing and salting roads in attempt to open them up after heavy snow landed overnight throughout the area.
According to the National Weather Service, an average of 10.5 inches of snow fell throughout Montcalm County Thursday through today.
The storm began with a heavier, wet type of snow falling, and then precipitation changed to solid snow throughout the night and into this morning.
Montcalm County Road Commission Superintendent-Manager Mark Christensen said plow and salt trucks have been in operation since 3 a.m. today doing “everything they can” to clear the roads.
“The roads are snow covered and slippery,” he said. “We’ve had trucks on the road since 3 a.m. and we will continue to work until everybody in the county has service.”
Christensen estimated that the Howard City area was hit the hardest with about 12 inches of snow accumulation, with the Carson City-Crystal area receiving the least in the county at about 6 inches.
Christensen said today marks the busiest day this winter for the road commission, but added that salt and other materials to battle the snowy roads are “in good supply.”
Greenville City Department of Public Works Director Mike Chesher said crews in Greenville have been on city streets since 2 a.m. today.
“We’ve had plow trucks running throughout the evening,” he said. “The guys that work during the day are the same guys that work at night, but we’re doing everything we can.”
Chesher estimated about 10 inches of snow fell in the Greenville area from the storm.
As of 9 a.m. today, Chesher said city road crews had been through all of the major streets at least once, but with the snow being so heavy, he said those roads will be hit a second time again before side streets are attended to.
“We’re trying to make it as safe and passible as we can,” Chesher said. “We’ll get the snow off the roads first and then lay salt on a second pass.”
Chescher said crews will continue to work until everything is open and drivable, hopefully by the end of the today.
Both Chesher and Christensen advised drivers to allow twice the normal time it takes to get to work or wherever drivers are going today.
“Obviously, the posted speed limits are not the best idea, you will probably want to drive slowly,” Chesher said. “If you don’t have to travel, today’s a good day to be snowed in. That’s what happens in Michigan.”
As of Thursday evening, all seven public school districts in Montcalm County, as well as Belding Area Schools in Ionia County, had closed school for today.
Greenville Public Schools Assistant Superintendent Diane Brissette said the decision was made out of safety for everyone.
“It was important to close school keep our kids safe,” Brissette said. “The back roads were not safe enough to have our drivers go down them or for our students to be standing by them. The most important thing is safety for out students (and staff).”
Greenville Public Schools Superintendent Pete Haines said so far this school year, Greenville Public Schools has had to use four snow days, however, there is no need to add on to the end of the school year yet.
“We still have remaining ‘forgive’ time, plus some extra time built into the calendar,” Haines said. “We would not yet need to add days in June.”
Conditions for today do not call for any additional snow, along with partly cloudy skies and temperatures around 30 degrees, which should provide road crews with ample conditions to clear the roads in a timely manner.