The arctic winds that dropped Utah County temperatures as low as 20 degrees below zero and dumped as much as 2 feet of snow on the ground over the weekend kept most people snug in their houses.
But the howling winds were a battle cry to snow removal crews."We had people out starting at 2 a.m. Thursday and we finished just after midnight Monday morning," said Steve Weber, Orem maintenance division manager. "We are still doing touch-ups."
Of the nine workers in the department, three were sick, he said. The remaining six, and a few people from other departments, worked every other 12-hour shift all weekend.
Orem contracted to use three additional snow plows during the storm. The city owns four snow plows and a road-grader that can be converted into a plow.
Provo has 13 plows and two graders.
"We used everything we had from 3 a.m. Friday to 6 on Saturday night," said Dave Stephenson, Provo streets and sanitation manager. "We had either plows or sanders out for the whole weekend."
Weber said the storm cost Orem dearly in labor, salt and cinders, equipment rental and depreciation of plows. Although the department's budget is flexible - more snow removal means fewer summer road projects and vice versa - the department is "double over budget," Weber said.
"We have about $50,000 set aside for snow removal, and this last storm cost us $45,000, bringing us up to about $100,000 for the season."
If canceling optional summer road repairs does not make up the difference, the department will "have to go to the city council on hands and knees and beg for more money," Weber said.
Stephenson said Provo's budget is "not in too bad a shape." His total budget for snow removal and road repairs is $900,000, he said, but he would not say how much he had allotted to snow removal. He said he is not sure how much money Provo has spent on snow removal so far this season.