Public Safety Chiefs recommend residents to stay home
Essential Albuquerque services are still operating despite a large winter storm that ripped through the state last night. Meanwhile, the City’s public safety chiefs are recommending all residents not travel due to dangerous road conditions.
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning until 11 a.m. Wednesday. Meteorologists expect as much as two inches of snow to fall in the Metropolitan Area with wind gusts reaching 35 mph. Meteorologists are calling it “arctic-like conditions.”
Chief Administrative Officer David Campbell and Public Safety Director Darren White provided the following updates:
Mr. Campbell closed many City offices Tuesday including City Hall. Non-critical personnel do not have to report to work. City officials will decide sometime tomorrow morning whether to re-open City offices. Mr. Campbell is asking all City employees to watch the local news for updates. All City libraries, bio-parks, pools, museums, community centers and senior centers are closed.
The Department of Municipal Development has 25 salt and sand spreaders on the streets working around the clock. The City is utilizing its stockpile of 3,200 yards of salt and sand ready to address ice on the roadways. City crews will clear major roadways and hospital/emergency access first. City traffic engineering crews are responding to five signals that are flashing red –including San Mateo and Montgomery. These intersections should be treated as four-way stops. Two of the five signals are flashing due to being knocked down as a result of motor vehicle accidents and will be replaced.
The Albuquerque Police Department was overwhelmed with calls early this morning. From 4:30 a.m. to 10 a.m., APD responded to 85 serious crashes. There have been reports of hundreds of minor collisions. Police Chief Ray Schultz ordered his department only to respond to crashes with injuries or ones in which vehicles need to be towed. Chief Schultz is asking all motorists involved in minor collisions without injuries to get off the roadway, exchange information and take photographs of the damage. Reports can be filed at any of APD’s six substations within the next five days. Every police officer normally on duty is working and taking calls for service. Many of the crashes are being attributed to dangerous road conditions. “The roads are very deceptive and many of the crashes are due to black ice,” Chief Schultz said. “If you don’t need to drive, don’t.”
The Albuquerque Fire Department responded to several motor vehicle accidents this morning. AFD is continuing to respond to all medical and fire calls. AFD has responded to several emergency medical incidents involving people who have slipped on ice causing broken hips and arms. Fire Chief James Breen is encouraging all elderly to refrain from clearing their driveways and sidewalks until conditions improve. City officials have been in contact with homeless service providers to make sure there is adequate shelter space.
Bus and Sun Van Paratransit services are continuing to operate. People who need to get to Tramway and Wenonah need to use the route 66 buses. Sun Van Paratransit Service east of Tramway was cancelled due to dangerous road conditions. Buses are running up to an hour behind schedule.
Solid Waste Management
Solid Waste Management trucks are continuing to operate. There is no change in regularly-scheduled service, however, there may be delays. Residents should leave their trash and recycle containers on the streets in the event they are not picked up. Crews will be working on missed service throughout the week.
The Albuquerque International Sunport is open. Travelers need to check with their airlines to see if their flights are on schedule. The general aviation runways for private flights are closed and private flights have been using the air carrier runways. More than 4,500 flights have been cancelled nationwide.
The City’s two shelters and Lucky Paws in Coronado Mall are closed for adoptions. However, the shelters will accept drop-offs until 5 p.m. Animal Welfare Director Barbara Bruin is urging all residents to bring their pets inside and to make sure they have adequate food and water. “In these conditions a dog house is not adequate,” Director Bruin said. “All animals should have a warm environment.”
All senior centers, multi-generational centers and meal sites are closed today. However, the City’s Senior Affairs Department will continue to provide home-delivery meals as regularly scheduled.
Updates on the winter storm closures and delays will be provided to local media outlets.