Winter storms in Nashville in December are rare. As a city, we’re more likely to be pummeled with snow and ice in February than during the festive season.
But nature has its way of foiling preconceived notions. A slow mover of what weather geeks call an Apps Runner/Lakes Cutter pushed through Sunday afternoon, dumping inches of snow on a somewhat-caught-unawares Music City.
The weirdo early season winter storms are a fitting end to a year of rowdy weather in Nashville. Of course, no one will forget the May floods, the meteorological story of the century. Without the floods, the top weather event of 2010 would have been the late-January snowstorm that dropped as much as 8 inches — an unheard-of amount — across Metro.
While big-time winter storms are a relative rarity here, we can count on at least a couple each season, and Metro Public Works takes seriously its responsibility to keep us as safe possible from them (and, well, ourselves).
The department gets tons of salt for brining (though an unexpected storm like Sunday’s, which follows a period of rain, basically renders salt trucks useless bystanders and the reason for so much traffic malfunction during the Dec. 12 storm) and maintains dozens of pieces of snow removal equipment, such as plows and trucks.
What’s more, Public Works is prepped with what is perhaps Metro’s most-detailed document: the snow removal plan. Available online, it maps outs the top-of-the-chart routes to be plowed and salted first — some 730 of Nashville’s 2,200 miles of road are considered “priority” — as well as those considered less of an emergency need. Not lucky enough to be on the 730 miles? Make a complaint, it’ll wind up on a list, and they’ll get to it when they can.
The snow-removal plan is a surprisingly interesting read. It’s at once calming (“Hey, there’s rhyme and reason!”) and frustrating (“Why not my road?”).
It’s also mapped out like an invasion strategy, and it reveals an incredible amount of openness and forethought — something other sectors of the Metro executive have been lacking lately (see: Dean, Karl. 2010 Fairgrounds debacle).