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Change is the word for this week’s weather

More changes are in the air this week as far as the weather is concerned. AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rossio says today’s warming trend is not going to stick around long, and snow will return to the forecast.

“The heaviest snow looks to be on Wednesday,” he said. “That’s when you could get a few inches. It looks like you’ll end up with a grand total by Wednesday evening when things start winding down of about three to six inches of snow.”

After that, temperatures will rise again.

“It looks like there’ll be a warm-up for the end of the week,” Rossio said. “There could be some melting snow which could cause some flooding issues across the area, mainly the low-lying areas in the valleys.”

Crews from the state departments of transportation in Washington and Oregon have been dealing with clearing the highways and helping remove wreckage for days now. They aren’t the only ones who are hard at work. Umatilla County Public Works Director Tom Fellows says his people are also working hard.

“We’re doing everything we can to get the roads opened up so folks can get to and from wherever they need to go,” he said. “It’s a lot more than we had expected this go-round.”

There’s a science behind the county’s snow removal system. Fellows said the first thing the crews work on are the paved roads, not the remote rural byways.

“It isn’t going to do folks any good for us to open up the gravel roads and the secondary roads if they can’t go anywhere when they get to the main roads,” he said.

The overtime puts a bite on the department’s budget, but Fellows says they plan in advance. Because the snow held off until February, he says that he doubts there will be a need for any emergency funding.

It isn’t all about helping motorists get around. Sidewalks and parks are another concern, as is evidenced by the Walla Walla Parks and Recreation Department. Crews there were busy Sunday and Monday clearing snow and ice from sidewalks in front of city hall, at the city’s parks and along the recreational trails and bike paths.

Another job the department is responsible for is clearing ice and snow from Mountain View Cemetery.

“We also plow those roads and make them passable,” Director Andy Coleman said. “We never know when there might be a service out there, so we want to be ready, so that’s another responsibility.”

He adds three members of his department are also on stand-by to help the public works department as the staffers have commercial driver licenses and, if needed, will assist the streets division with snow and ice removal.

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