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Season's first snow 'a major event'

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Getting ready: Ryan Kinder (left) and Brad Evans of the Greenfield Street Department work on one of the city trucks Thursday in anticipation of the season's first snowfall.
Getting ready: Ryan Kinder (left) and Brad Evans of the Greenfield Street Department work on one of the city trucks Thursday in anticipation of the season's first snowfall.

GREENFIELD — For Hancock County residents dreaming of a white Christmas, wishes might be coming true. Forecasters are expecting between 1 and 3 inches of snow to fall today and are predicting more snowfall next week.

Meteorologists at the National Weather Service’s Indianapolis office said the snowfall will end by midday today.

Crystal Pettet, NWS meteorologist, said the snow won’t necessarily cinch a white Christmas for central Indiana.

Temperatures are expected to stay in the low 30s through Saturday, so Pettet said the snow could hang around until Sunday. After that, however, central Indiana may have to depend on fresh snowfall if it’s to enjoy a white Christmas.

The promise of the season’s first snowfall had city, county and state officials gearing up.

Jim Hahn, superintendent of the city’s street department, rallied his troops Thursday. The crews were readying trucks in anticipation for a 4 a.m. call to hit the streets this morning.

“Let’s do a good job and get on it,” Hahn said. “This is our time to shine. There’s nobody else; it’s us.”

Hahn said about a dozen city trucks will be on the streets, working to clear accumulated snow and lay down salt before residents head to work and school.

Though it’s the first snow of the season, Hahn said most of the city’s drivers are experienced in snow removal.

Hahn asked that residents understand city workers do not intentionally plow snow into driveways, but when clearing roadways, snow is inevitably pushed to the road edges, including home drives.

“It’s not on purpose,” he said. “We’re removing snow from curb to curb.”

The county was also preparing to hit the streets, but officials in the Hancock County Highway Department were not available to say when snow removal would start.

The Indiana Department of Transportation started trucks on the road at 7 p.m. Thursday. Harry Maginity, INDOT spokesman, said 28 trucks would be on the roads from the Greenfield Subdistrict. Maginity said drivers would switch out at midnight and work 12-hour shifts as long as needed.

“This is the first snow, and that’s always a major event for motorists,” he said.

Forecasters were also expecting strong winds today; gusts were already reaching 50 mph Thursday evening.

Strong wind, combined with cold temperatures, could make for icy conditions on roadways and even black ice in some places.

Maginity said INDOT crews would be salting bridges and ice-prone areas early and often, though rainy conditions and wet roads were making it hard for crews to pretreat roads.

Snow will melt during the weekend, but forecasters are predicting more snow next week. Pettet said there is a slight chance of rain turning to snow Monday night. There are also chances for snow on Christmas day, with snow likely on Wednesday.

Hahn said he’s already telling city crews to be prepared and stay close to home in case of significant snowfall around the holiday.

“I’m so glad people get to see snow for Christmas,” he said, “but we’re going to make it safe for them.”

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