County's snow crews get ready for winter

"The clear blue skies islanders have been treated to this week can make a person forget that the season's first snowfall could be right around the corner. Or right over the next hill. Or right down the street. That's why the Island County Road Department has started preparing for whatever winter weather wends our way.It wasn't so long ago, 1996 to be exact, when Whidbey was hit with a few inches of snow two days before Thanksgiving. Though snow is not a regular local feature it can happen, and because it's rare, snow can catch islanders unprepared - especially for driving in it.Though county sanding and plowing crews get started as early as 5 a.m. on snow days, they concentrate on school bus and principal roadways first. That can leave a lot of county roads, including steep or windy access roads to certain communities, uncleared unless time permits.Clearing and sanding of the state highway is done by the Washington State Department of Transportation. City roads are handled by city crews.Snow is not the only potential problem. Ice, particularly black ice, can be even more dangerous for drivers. On below-freezing mornings, county road supervisors will be out checking for possible trouble spots. They also monitor weather-related ICOM-911 calls. The supervisors may post signs at a location or call in sanding crews as needed. Areas that stay shaded during the day are some of the most likely spots for ice buildup. Though it can work well on snow, sanding has only limited benefits on black ice.Sanding material may be provided to the community at accessible locations for their use on steep roads which have not been sanded.-------------Snowy, but unplowedHere are a list of key community-access roads that will NOT be plowed or sanded in the event of snow and ice. This is not a complete list.North/Central WhidbeyBercot Road, hill portionWidarama Beach: Widarama PlaceShangri-La Shores: Arbor Drive, Pullman Road, Roberts Bluff RoadDines Point: Fir Street, Dines Point RoadLagoon Point: Mountain View RoadBush Point: View Road, High RoadSouth WhidbeyPossession Shores #4: Nation DriveScatchet Head: Gamble Street "

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