Digging out from debris, dirt and snow
By Robin Scott
Each day the City of Dalhart looks a little less like a tornado traveled through as the branches and tree limbs that were knocked down during winter storms begin to disappear. The effort has been twofold: city employees are busy picking up as much as they can each day for chipping or disposal, and residents are getting the debris cleared away as well.
Along with the fallen branches is the mush and muck on the sides of the roads left from the melting snow. TxDOT employees are equally busy clearing the highways for safe travel. Their task has included picking up huge piles of the dirt left after the snow has melted. The piles left on the sides of the roads have obstructed safe travel and TxDOT is diligently scraping up as much of the crud as quickly as possible.
With a hint of snow to come in the weather report, area residents find themselves exhausted from what the snow leaves behind and not eager for more. Tractors remain on streets all over Dallam and Hartley Counties and continue to dig out intersections, driveways and parking lots. The debris being removed is no longer pretty white snow but dark brown slush and ice. Each day the temperature rises just enough in the afternoon to melt the mountains of ice a small amount. For the most part, roads and streets are fairly clear; however, several streets have become muddy puddles of melting snow with a mixture of tree limbs.
According to Capt. Robert Stout with the Dalhart Police Department, “During the time when there was a lot of snow on the ground, the city of Dalhart had zero accidents. After the storms when the snow began to melt and the streets became slick, we had approximately six or eight.” He noted, “People were really either very well behaved during the bad weather or they stayed home, and I was surprised that we had no accidents.”
With the amount of snow and ice still needing to melt, slick roads remain. The water has to go somewhere, and it tends to travel right into the streets, carrying leftover twigs with it. Area residents are encouraged to continue to keep the area around their homes clear from debris so that the water may drain. Drivers still need to exercise caution as the water can be misleading and camouflage the dips in the intersections.
Area residents still need to maintain a degree of patience as city employees get all of the limbs and branches hauled away. As a reminder, homeowners are responsible for clearing limbs and branches from their own property. When taking the debris to the alley, make sure the pieces are small enough for more efficient removal. Residents may continue to take limbs and branches for chipping to 200 Olive Street, outside the fenced area by the municipal garage rather than going out to the landfill.