Can Charlotte handle a few inches of snow?

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The Charlotte area experienced its first snowfall of 2018 the first part of January.

About three to five inches fell and paralyzed parts of the city. Several businesses closed and a Hockey arena was closed to fans because of bad road conditions.

Some don't want this kind of shut down have a negative economic impact.

"We still want businesses to thrive," At-Large Charlotte City Councilmember James Mitchell said. "We still want our retail malls to be open, so I think we will pay close attention to that."

Mitchell is chair of the city's economic development committee. He says the city did a great job in clearing roads this time around.  He is from Charlotte and knows the city is not used to dealing with bad weather.

"We're fortunate we get a bad snow storm a year," Mitchell said. "That has been the trend.  If we still see this pattern continue to change, I do think council and mayor will look at do we need to make additional purchases."

Mellow Mushroom on Church Street had to shut down early and open late because of the snow. Noah Barrow owns the pizza restaurant. He says he lost between $8,000 to $12,000 in one day.

"A little rough start to 2018," Owner Noah Barrow said. "But if that's the way we started then the rest of the year should be great."

WBTV checked with other cities who know how to deal with snow to compare how Charlotte's equipment stacks up. Charlotte has 37 tandems with spreaders and plows and ten brine trucks.

Indianapolis has 80 trucks and Baltimore has 300 trucks.  Also Baltimore has 18,000 tons of salt on hand and Charlotte has 5,000 tons of salt in its inventory.

"As we prepare to be a winning city, a big city, we need to be prepared to take on big issues like bad weather," Mitchell said. "We have a can-do attitude."

Soon staff will approach council to give a debrief on how it handled the few inches of snow.  It will also determine if improvements are needed to keep business in the city going when bad weather happens.

Barrow thinks Charlotte could use more equipment to clear streets quicker so business can continue in a few inches of snow.

"Maybe getting a few more plows to get the streets done." Barrow said.

Mitchell says there could be push back if the city purchases expensive equipment and it is not used often.

"If you make too much investment on equipment," Mitchell said. "Say $14 million and you get one snow storm - we don't want the citizens to say could that money been best used hiring police officers or building more affordable housing."

Mitchell says the city will track how many snow storms Charlotte gets to determine if more action needs to happen.

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