If the forecast is right, the City of Corner Brook’s snowclearing budget will take another hit over the next couple of days.
Environment Canada has issued a weather alert for the entire province that consists of blizzard conditions in a lot of areas and blowing snow and wind in others.
The system is expected to develop this afternoon or evening and bring with it near zero visibility in snow and blowing snow with snowfall accumulations of up to 30 centimetres in some locations.
In an email on Tuesday afternoon, Mayor Charles Pender said that up to Feb. 28 the city had spent $857,428 of its $1.5 million snowclearing budget for 2014.
The mayor said the city had budgeted for about $808,500 for the first two months of the year. That figure is based on the fact the city receives about 54 per cent of its annual snowfall in January and February and takes into account a five-year average of snowfalls.
In total, the mayor said the city is over by about $49,000, but noted there may still be some costs to come in.
In an interview later, Pender said the city is comfortable with where the snowclearing budget stands.
“While it sounds like a lot of money, it’s not a huge amount,” he said of the cost overrun.
Pender added that one snowstorm can eat up $50,000.
“And quite frankly with the amount of snow we’ve had and water and flood controls, one would expect it to be significantly higher.”
As for the coming weather system, Pender said it’s just another storm to prepare for.
He said with not a lot of snow falling in the past couple of weeks that crews have been working to scrape ice from the roads.
He also said the city had two loaders down, but hopes that one of those will be back in service today.
As for crews, Pender said in his email that the city has a full complement of operators, including a night shift of eight so it can cover all the runs.
While St. John’s had already started to lay off its snowclearing crews, Pender said that’s not the case here.
“Right now there are no plans (to lay off staff),” he said. “We just keep working on through as is.”