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Kingsport crews battle record-setting snowfall

Matthew Lane • Dec 10, 2018 at 7:30 PM

KINGSPORT — Kingsport’s Streets and Sanitation Department has been working around the clock for more than two days removing the record-setting snow that fell across the Model City this past weekend.

According to the National Weather Service, 9.4 inches of snow fell in the Tri-Cities on Sunday — a one-day record for the month of December. The previous record was 8.7 inches of snow, which fell on Christmas Day in 1969.

City crews went into 24-hour mode at about 11 p.m. on Saturday and will likely continue to do so until lunchtime on Tuesday, said Ronnie Hammonds, manager of the Streets and Sanitation Department.

“This is the earliest we’ve ever had to make a concerted effort for snow removal,” Hammonds said.

When snow first starts to fall, crews focus on the main roads and highways, then move into the secondary streets. On Monday, crews were focusing their efforts on the neighborhood roads. The last parts of town to see snowplows and salt spreaders are the dead ends, Hammonds said.

It takes crews about 36 hours after the last snowflake falls before all the roads are mostly clear of snow.

“We appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding during this winter storm,” Hammonds added. “Be careful for slick spots (Tuesday morning) since it’s going to freeze overnight.”

Kingsport used approximately 950 tons of salt during this weekend snowstorm, with another 2,400 tons in reserve. Hammonds said he had ordered an additional 900 tons Monday morning.

Quite a few trees were down throughout the Model City, with many close to the roadway, including along Netherland Inn Road, Stone Drive, and Meadowview Parkway. The storm did uproot one large pine tree in the front lawn of Allandale Mansion.

“The storm was a heavy, wet storm and when the guys were plowing, it was such a load built up it was causing us some problems,” Hammonds said. “We had no wrecks or major problems, just minor things you expect to happen during a snowstorm. Thankfully, our guys at fleet worked around the clock with us.”

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