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Crews clearing snow for St. Patrick's parade
Rochester, N.Y. -- It will be another all-nighter for snow removal crews in the City of Rochester. This time, the target will be the streets, sidewalks and the snow mounds in between lining the route of Saturday's St. Patrick's Day Parade.
"We've been planning for the parade, but we were hoping we wouldn't get 20-some inches of snow right before it," said Karen St. Aubin, the city's director of operations.
The roads and sidewalks are open, but far from slip-free. Mounds of snow cover the curbs along East Avenue, Main Street and Plymouth Avenue where many spectators will sit. All of it has to go.
"It's a big job with this amount of snow two days before the parade," said St. Aubin. "We will be loading and hauling overnight."
Thirty trucks, including front-end loaders, will be brought in beginning at 7 p.m. Thursday night to clear out the snow. Ten wheelers will haul it away. Portions of the sidewalks will be cleared the old fashioned way, with shovel brigades.
"That can't all be done by machine; some of that has to be done by hand," said St. Albin. "Old-fashioned shoveling."
About 60,000 people attend the parade every year. The last time it was moved because of weather issues was 1999.
"That was a beautiful day, but it was cancelled because they couldn't get the roads and sidewalks cleared in time," said Johnny Savino, owner of Johnny's Irish Pub on Culver Road.
We caught Savino also shoveling out his business. He has been past grand marshal of the parade and this year is sponsoring the "Runnin of the Green" 5-mile run before the parade.
"The runners will be ready, but it all depends on whether the parade is on," he said.
The sun is already doing its job. By noon Thursday, you could see the painted green stripe on the roadway beneath the ice and snow. It designates the parade route. The goal is to have enough snow removed to let warmer temperatures on Friday do the rest.
By contrast, St. Patrick's Day was a balmy 75 degrees in 2012, when 100,000 spectators attended the parade.
Bob Kahler was making his way slowly along the snow covered sidewalks Thursday.
"The weather is a little concerning, but we're hearty people here," he said. "We're used to it and I think we'll get a good turnout."