Winter 2012: Preps start early in D.C.

Hopefully we’re still many weeks away from our first snow of the season, but D.C. officials want to make sure everyone knows they’re ready.

Back-to-back blizzards bringing more than 56 inches of snow left the D.C. area buried for days in 2010.

“It was a lot of snow, just a lot of snow,” says Patric Pepper. “Our roof caved in. The roads were terrible.”

Council member Mary Cheh wasn’t a fan of the city’s response.

“I thought we were caught flat footed,” she says.

So she called the Director of the Department of Public Works front and center Monday to ask if the city will be ready if this coming winter produces a blizzard that shuts everything down again.

“We are ready for any heavy snow we get this year,” says William Howland Jr.

"It was a lot of snow so you want to cut them some slack, but it was still hard,” says Karen Evans. “It was much harder than it should have been for residents.”

The 2010 storms left about one-third of the city’s snow plow fleet in need of repair so the city bought 45 new plows. This time around, the city could buy 50 additional heavy plows if needed.

“They were just overwhelmed. I am glad to hear they got more,” says Pepper.

Between what the city has ready to go, including contingency plans, there are more than 560 pieces of equipment for the upcoming storm season.

In 2010, the salt domes around the city ran dry. This time the city has contracts with not one but two companies to get more salt if needed.

“Sounds like they are prepared,” says Venus Thrash.

DPW says a new monitoring system is in place for the side streets and cul de sacs that were left buried for days.

“We are going to make sure that they get the emphasis that they need. They’re still probably going to be last, but they will be addressed,” says Howland.