Snowy Statue

The statue of Ben Franklin outside the old Franklin County Courthouse was partially covered by snow Thursday, Nov. 15. An overnight snowstorm dropped several inches of snow on Union. The accumulation made for a longer morning commute and led to a snow day for students in the Union R-XI School District.      Missourian Photo/Joe Barker.

Union’s new public works director spent Thursday gearing up for a potential snowstorm.

Kayla Stephens, who started with the city Dec. 17, said the city’s team is prepared and ready for any snow that may fall this weekend. Predictions vary, but the city was forecasted to receive several inches of snow starting Friday afternoon.

Public works crews are expecting some snow will cover the roads.

“Everyone is prepared,” she said.

Stephens said before the storm hits, crews were going to pretreat several regular bad spots around town. The bad spots are often in low-lying areas or hills, she said.

The majority of the roads will not be treated because temperatures are expected to be above freezing once precipitation starts. Any rain will wash away the salt and cinders.

Crews are hoping to work Friday under normal operations. With the snow not expected to fall until later in the day, Stephens said the plan is to work a regular shift and then go home and rest for a few hours.

That could change depending on how quickly the snow starts to fall.

Based on forecasts, Stephens said roads may not start getting “bad” until later in the day. She said traditionally crews wait until police reports about the roads getting covered, but may come into work earlier to prepare for a night of plowing.

Stephens said the city’s water and parks department have offered to help in plowing operations.

The city is well-stocked with salt and cinders, she said. While trying not to jinx things, she said the city should has enough salt and cinders on hand to last the rest of the season.

This is the second projected snow accumulation of the of the season after the Nov. 15, 2018, snowstorm dropped several inches of snow on the city. Crews were able to get the roads cleared quickly with minimal problems during that storm.

Stephens said crews are hopeful that experience will make battling this snowfall easier.

While the public works team worked the last snow, Stephens had yet to be hired. This will be her first plowing operation as the city’s public works director.

During the last snowfall, the acting public works director was City Administrator Russell Rost. For this storm, Rost is out of the country on vacation leaving Stephens in charge.

“This is my first one, so I’m really just letting the guys take the lead on this,” she said.

Stephens said her truck is equipped with a plow, but she doesn’t plan to go out solo — at least not yet. She said the plan for now is to ride along with members of the team and learn how things go before getting out on her own.