After two light winters in a row, the Westerville service department is planning for the worst but hoping for the best from the season of snow.
Kevin Weaver, the city's director of public service, said the city's snow preparation is "not too dramatically different" this year than from any other year. He said he's heading into winter, which officially starts Dec. 21, feeling optimistic that the trend of lighter snowfall will continue.
"I think the predictions have been that we'll be more on that pattern than being rough on us," he said. "But we're ready for whatever at this point."
One annoyance for Weaver's department this season has been that leaves fell from trees late, meaning a portion of his crew is still hauling leaves.
But by the time they're all switched over, the city will have as many as 12 trucks dedicated to snow removal and several others that can be used for spreading salt.
"We're in good shape as far as that goes," he said.
Like many municipalities, Weaver said, Westerville is trying to focus on being proactive. He said his department would try to use brine on the roads whenever possible before snowfall to keep the roads clear.
"It helps to give us a little more time to respond when we treat with the brine," he said. "We'll use that whenever it makes sense, which is mainly whenever we're not expecting rain before the event."
To improve the department's own logistics and communication with residents, the city is working on implementing a system that shows where trucks have been during snow response. Weaver said he's hoping to have it implemented in early 2018, but it's possible that it could miss this winter.
"It will make supervision a whole lot easier," he said. "The other thing is the public can see whether we've plowed their street and how long it's been since we've been on their street. It will allow for better peace of mind that we're out and doing what we need to do."
While Weaver's team members will do what they can, he said he still likes to remind drivers of their role.
"Be patient and slow down, that's the No. 1 thing," he said.
And while commuters will be rooting for a third light season in a row, Weaver and his department are just as hopeful.
"We prepare for the worst; we try to be ready for the worst the year can throw at us," he said. "But if it's lighter, that's great. We have a little celebration."