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Highway crews out in force ahead of blizzard

AMBROSE CLANCY Photo Forecasts are calling for seven to 14 inches of snow today.

AMBROSE CLANCY Photo Forecasts are calling for seven to 14 inches of snow today.

Highway Superintendent Jay Card Jr. and his crews were in a waiting mode at 7 a.m. this morning.

“The storm started slowly,” Mr. Card said from Highway Department headquarters. “It was rain in the beginning last night,” which early this morning turning to snow blown by stiff winds.

“But I don’t want anyone to have any illusions” the highway chief added, and try to get out on the roads.

Crews are on the roads of the Island this morning, mostly laying down sand, waiting for the heavier snow to arrive later “and then we’ll push it,” Mr. Card said.

With forecasts of 7 to 12 inches of the white stuff, the Island is bracing for a severe storm.

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a blizzard warning calling for heavy snow at times and a high temperature of 31 degrees. Wind chill values will be between 10 and 15 degrees, according to the NWS.

Wind will be a major factor in the storm, with a northwest wind blowing at 29 to 38 mph and gusts as high as 50 mph.

Yesterday evening and night the crews laid down a mixture of beet juice and brine — produced in-house by the Highway Department — to keep surfaces from freezing , Mr. Card said.

Wind is in the forefront of  the highway chief’s concerns, especially with a high tide and gusts behind it threatening low-lying areas of the Island.

High tide for the Island today will be just past noon.

“We’re looking at the causeways, for example,” Mr. Card said.

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