NEW INFORMATION: Primary streets plowed, residential plowing in progress

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The City of Eau Claire received 14.7 inches of snow on Sunday and overnight into early Monday morning. The 86 miles of primary streets have been plowed to full width and were in fair winter driving condition with wet pavement and snow covered sections as of 8:00 a.m. on Monday morning.

A full residential plowing operation is in currently in progress. Because of the amount of snow and need to re-plow the arterial streets following additional snowfall in the early morning hours, the full residential plowing is expected to take longer than normal to complete. The residential plowing is anticipated to be completed between 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. on Monday afternoon.

Residents are asked to be patient and advised to use caution when shoveling sidewalks and driveways. Emergency response personnel typically see an increase in the number of heart and back problems resulting from heavy snow of this type.

An alternate side clean-up plowing operation will be undertaken at midnight tonight. Car owners are reminded to park on the ODD numbered side of the street beginning at midnight tonight until 7:00 am Tuesday morning (12/11/12).

STORY FROM 12/9/12
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Old man winter finally makes its way to Wisconsin.

Now everyone is trying to dig out and helping the cause, the snow plow operators in the city of Eau Claire.

Meet Dave Brown.

“I've been downtown for eight years. Now I do State Street, Macarthur, Craig, Stein, that area. That is my salt route,” said Brown who works for the city. The winter proves to be a busy time for him as well as those involved in city plow operations.

Brown knows all too well what can go down on the first big snowfall of the season. Everything from crashes to 360 spinouts, he sees it all.

At times, the roadway can be too packed, making it hard for Brown to sweep the streets. That’s when he radios in the Eau Claire Police Department to help block off the street so he can clean it up.

On Sunday evening, State Street was packed with people trying to get up and down the hill. Within minutes of radioing in, the police cleared the roadway for Brown.

With six to eight inches of snow through the city of Eau Claire, Dave says it’s important to be patient and to try and staff off the roads if you can.

City Emergency Management Coordinator Tom Hurley agrees.

“If you're able to stay at home and watch the Packer game with your family, just lay low, that's certainly the thing to do,” said Hurley. “It allows the plow truck operators to get out, remove the snow a little bit faster than if they have to deal with the general public.”

Brown said people are surprised to hear how busy his schedule can be during the winter.

“I think a lot of people aren't familiar with the hours we do work. The longest I’ve worked 16 hour shifts is nine days in a row,” said Brown.

Those long hours can also take a toll on the city snow plows.

Brown had stopped by the central fuel station to get his plow’s blade repaired.

“Wear and tear, it takes a lot of vibration and beating on a snow route and plowing for 7, 8, 9,10 or16 hours,” he said.

Hurley added it’s important to take caution when out on the roads.

“In the event that you do need to go out on the road, slow down, give yourself at least three times the stopping distance and the distance between you and vehicles,” said Hurley. “The biggest thing to remember is we're working to get the streets back open, back clear. The best thing you can do is give the plow truck operators a lot of room and slow down.”

For some folks, the storm means the first time they’re taking out their shovels and snow blowers, much like Eric Carlson of Eau Claire.

“It’s coming down pretty heavy. I’m just glad I’m getting it done before the Packer game, said Carlson as he finished up his sidewalk with his snow blower.

For others, it means helping others in a time of need, like Kelsey Wahlquist, Alex Strouf and Kassie Rucrinski.

“We've been just walking around. Actually we pushed out two cars tonight,” said Strouf with her two friends.

They say they’ve been waiting for the snow to finally arrive.

“I feel like a child again we’ve been waiting for this for like two months. We've been listening to Christmas music but it’s been like 60 (degrees) out so now we're very, very happy,” said Strouf.

The city says snow plows will be out in full plow mode throughout the city including the residential routes starting around midnight.

They should be finished by 10 a.m. depending on when the snow stops falling.

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