Cities Burn Through Money as Heavy Snow Falls

The east is being hit by another snowstorm, the fifth in five weeks. This one moved up from Tennessee toward Maine and could dump as much as a foot of snow in places. This is becoming one of the worst winters on record.

Meanwhile, clearing all those roads over and over and over again is getting very expensive. This is a real budget buster. Many parts of the northeast are getting hit with more feet of snow in a month than they get all winter.

This storm is parking itself over Boston and it's going to intensify overnight.

"Boston can handle it," says Karen Holmes, a lifelong Boston resident, "but some people are wimping out with the snow."

CBS News' Whit Johnson reports more than four feet of snow in 30 days is enough to weaken even the toughest of cities. Boston's snow removal budget is nearly $16 million. But it's not even February and two thirds of the money is already spent.

"This one here, one after another," says Joanne Massaro, the Boston Commissioner of Public Works. "Every week. We've had one or two or three events a week. So it's a lot to deal with."

And Wednesday's storm is adding to the misery. The snow is flying but airlines aren't, canceling hundreds of flights. It's just as bad on the ground.

"Driving-wise, it looks like it's going to be hell," says city bus driver Paul San Filippo.

Already New York City has blown through its entire $38 million snow budget. Forty-one inches have fallen so far and it could get blanketed with another foot overnight.

"I strongly urge you to use extreme caution," says New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Connecticut has had 59 inches of snow in January alone, and Greenwich, Conn., is $150,000 over budget.

Down south, many cities don't even plan for snow removal, like North Carolina's Wrightsville Beach, better known for its golf courses than for snow sports. The state is $4 million over budget.

Georgia has burned through almost all of its funds, too, much of it for Atlanta.

But Bergen Co., N.J., has figured out a way to save about $15,000 per storm by using pickle juice. A ton of brine costs about $16, compared to $63 for more traditional salt. It's an unconventional remedy for a winter that has been unpredictable.

"For some reason this winter the computer models have had a hard time with these storm systems and this, like the last few, is stronger than what was originally forecast," says WFOR meteorologist Craig Setzer.

In Boston the bulk of the storm is expected to pass by midday Thursday. It's only January and what are typically some of the worst weeks of winter are still ahead.
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