Wake-up call from Old Man Winter

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Big O Tires of Craig has been advertising for people to buy their snow tires early, but it wasn't until Monday -- the first business day after the area's first snowstorm -- that many people heeded that advice.

"People still come in at the last minute," store owner Fred Shaffer said. "It's the nature of the beast."

Snowplows and law enforcement officials also were busy during the weekend, clearing roads and responding to accidents after a heavy snowfall blanketed Moffat County.

Sgt. Gary Meirose of the Colorado State Patrol said troopers responded to about 18 wrecks during the weekend.

No fatalities were reported.

"Usually when it starts snowing, the fatalities go down," he said. "The snow seems to buffer the impact."

If a vehicle is abandoned or gets stuck by the side of a road, CSP troopers will tag it. Owners have 48 hours to retrieve their vehicles or they will be towed.

Residents need to remember a few rules to allow plowing on city and county roads, officials said.

Becky Otis, a code enforcement officer for the city of Craig, said residents should shovel their walks. However, the removed snow can't be deposited onto city streets.

"If you have sidewalk in front of residence, you're responsible for cleaning it," she said. "I can't make you clean your driveway, but I can make you clean your sidewalk."

Vehicles parked on city streets should be moved regularly so snowplows can get to those areas, Otis said.

If a vehicle gets plowed in, she asks that residents move it about 10 feet down the street. That ensures that a snowplow operator can get rid of the snow on its next run. If a vehicle is tagged, owners have two days to move it before it is towed. Linda DeRose, administrative supervisor of Moffat County's Road and Bridge Department, said snow plow operators have been working around the clock. Most of the county's roads should be passable, DeRose said Monday afternoon.

County crews plow after about 3 inches of snow has fallen, DeRose said.

Plows first hit the bus routes for the Moffat County School District and primary roads, after which the area's secondary roads are plowed.

DeRose said it was OK for motorists to pass plows on the roadways.

"Usually, the guys try to get out of the way so you can pass a plow," she said.

County plow operators also don't plow driveways to residences, providing some exceptions.

DeRose said operators start at 3 a.m. and have been known to wake up many times during the night to check snowfall levels.

"You never know from one snow storm to the next which part of the county is going to get hit," she said.

Amy Hatten can be reached at 824-7031 or ahatten@craigdailypress.com.

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