Cleanup efforts underway as Western Massachusetts braces for snowstorm

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) – With winter weather threating to impact Tuesday’s morning commute, local crews said they are ready for whatever Tuesday’s storm will bring our way.

Monday’s sunny skies may have felt like the calm before the storm for many of us, but local DPW crews used the time to their advantage.

“Our staff started going out today, pre-treating all the streets including side streets,” explained Elizabette Batista.

“Our crews were definitely exhausted after our first major snow event of the season,” expressed Tonya Capparello. “They’re rested up again so we’re ready for the next storm to come.”

With a messy Tuesday on tap, Department of Public Works crews in both Chicopee and Wilbraham already kick preparations into high gear and while the storm’s track has shifted south, lowering the chances for significant snow fall, crews are ready for whatever comes their way.

“As the storm begins, we’ll continue to maintain and keep cumulation down with salt,” added Batista. “And when we see a little over two inches of snow, we’ll start scraping and plowing.”

But it’s not just mother nature that’s posing a challenge for Chicopee’s DPW. The department’s superintendent, Elizabette Batista said they’re also dealing with staffing shortages. They have enough crews to put out 50 pieces of equipment during storms like this, that’s 20 pieces shy of their ideal staff.

“We ask the public to be patient and know that we’re going to get there and get it done, it just might take a little bit of time,” expressed Batista. “We know that it’s hard.”

It’s not just DPW crews gearing up for the winter weather…

“We have brought in additional crews,” noted Priscilla Ress. “What we do is we place our crews and we place them strategically so they can respond as quickly and as safely as possible.”

Eversource spokesperson Priscilla Ress told Western Mass News the electric company has been following the forecasts closely.

“We are well prepared for what we expect,” added Ress.

While snow totals aren’t expected to exceed more than a few inches throughout the region. According to Ress, the snow’s weight could still be an issue.

“Our biggest concern, our biggest challenge is the trees,” explained Ress. “If that heavy snow builds up in the branches and brings those limbs down onto our electric equipment, that’s the number one cause of outages.”

Both DPW and electric crews will be out responding to the storm on Tuesday, Ress and Batista said if you see a downed wire, an unplowed road or any similar issue pop up, reach out to their offices.

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