Buckley prepares for snowfall, closures

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Winter is on its way, and Buckley AFB is prepared to take on the snowfalls.

The 460th Civil Engineer Squadron maintains a 24/7 snow removal capability, said Tech. Sgt. Michael Hottes, noncommissioned officer in charge of 460th CES Pavements and Equipment.

The squadron has three snow removal crews that rotate day and night when needed to get snow removed from roadways and parking lots, he said.

They schedule the crews based on the weather forecast. If snow is projected, they activate the snow control, which is a one- or two-person crew that coordinates snow removal jobs and keeps track of what's been plowed and what hasn't. They also designate one or two people to be on snow watch.

Once snow falls, they start plowing, beginning with Priority One level areas and working until Priority Three level areas are finished.

Normally, snow removal crews pile snow up on the side edges of parking lots, said Staff Sgt. Craig Lawrence, 460th CES heavy equipment operator supervisor. Once the weather warms up, they disperse the piles for the snow to melt. If the weather doesn't warm up, and Buckley sports many few-foot high snow piles, 460th CES members load the snow on dump trucks to haul it off.

Note that weather conditions change speed and drivability on base:

Yellow - Road conditions are approaching hazardous levels. Exercise caution. Roads may be slippery or icy. Minimize travel, slow to 20 mph and allow extra travel distance between cars and when approaching stops and turns.

Orange - Road conditions are hazardous. Mission-essential vehicle movement only.

Red - Road conditions are extremely hazardous. Emergency vehicle travel only. All other vehicles should not use roads.

Tips to help snow plowers

-- Snow vehicles have priority. Please let them have the right of way. 

-- Stay at least 50 feet behind all snow vehicles.

-- Do not pass on the right side of any snow vehicle.

-- Deployed members or those on temporary duty should park their vehicles at the end of a parking lot, not the middle.

-- Sidewalks within 100 feet of a facility are the facility manager's responsibility.

-- Facility managers can get bags of de-icing chemical by calling 720-847-6019.

-- When the wing commander gives notification of a delay or closure, please adhere to the delay or closure. Mission essential personnel are the only members authorized to travel on Buckley. This allows snow crews time to open up parking lots and roadways.

To check weather conditions, call 720-847-SNOW. The information is updated as conditions warrant.