MUSCATINE, Iowa – The City of Muscatine has declared a Snow Emergency that will be in effect from 8 a.m. Saturday (Feb. 10) through 8 a.m. Monday (Feb. 12). The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for an area of East Central Iowa that includes Muscatine with moderate to heavy snow expected Thursday night into Friday.
Muscatine officials will handle snow removal a bit differently than in the past and will use the Snow Emergency to allow Department of Public Works crews to finish cleaning up after the snow storm moves out.
“We are taking a little different approach with this snow event than we have done in the past,” DPW Director Brian Stineman said.
Stineman noted that crews were out today (Feb. 8) spreading salt ahead of the snowfall. Once the snow begins accumulating, DPW crews will be out “dropping the blade” and clearing the emergency snow routes followed by the residential areas.
“The salt breaks the bond between the snow and the street so the sooner we have the salt down the easier it will be to push the snow off the streets,” Stineman said. “What we are anticipating doing is making one pass whenever possible as the snow falls especially in the neighborhood areas,” Stineman said. “Having the Snow Emergency in effect over the weekend allows our crews to clean up the streets as the snow ends.”
Drivers have been recruited from other city departments to assist in the snow removal. Vehicles owners are not required to move their vehicles to off-street parking until the Snow Emergency goes into effect. However, finding off-street parking early on in a snow event helps in snow removal. Once the Snow Emergency is in effect, vehicles parked on the street against city code are subject to being towed and the owners ticketed.
Snow is expected to begin later this evening (between 6 and 9 p.m.) with the heaviest accumulations during the overnight hours. Snow totals are expected to be between three to six inches in Muscatine but there is the potential of up to eight inches before the storm ends on Saturday.
This is the second time this winter season that Muscatine has declared a snow emergency. The first time was just before the New Year’s holiday.
So what does a snow emergency mean? Mostly, the declaration has to do with on-street parking and allowing snow removal to proceed at a quicker pace.
“Of course the best course of action is that people find off street parking whenever we have a snow event,” Stineman said. “Just having the vehicles off the street helps the crews clear the snow away. It is also a good way to lessen the stress on our crews having to work around vehicles parked on the street, and to reduce the chances of damage from drivers who might lose control on the slick roads.”
According to City Code:
Streets that normally allow parking on both sides of the street will be subject to “alternate side of the street” parking during a snow emergency. On odd-numbered days of the month, parking is permitted only on the odd-numbered side of the street. Likewise, parking is permitted only on the even-numbered side of the street on even-numbered days.
For all streets where parking is allowed only on one side, if that side is on the even-numbered side of the street parking is allowed only on even-numbered days with no parking allowed on odd-numbered days. Likewise, if the one side is on the odd-numbered side of the street parking is allowed only on odd-numbered days with no parking allowed on even-numbered days.
The transition time between the first and second day of a snow emergency is from 12-8 a.m. meaning that you will not be ticketed for parking on the wrong side of the street until after 8 a.m. on the second snow emergency day.
The downtown Central Business District (bounded by Mulberry, Third, Mississippi Drive, and Pine streets) are not affected by the snow emergency parking regulations. However, restrictions on parking are put in place following a significant snowfall where the accumulation must be removed from parking areas and sidewalks in the downtown area.
Emergency Snow Routes:
There are five emergency plow snow routes throughout the city which are cleared first according to DPW Street Maintenance Supervisor Randy Howell. Class 1 streets, those designated to be cleared first including snow ordinance routes, hospital access streets, school access routes, and transit emergency bus routes, are cleared from curb to curb before proceeding to other streets in Muscatine.
Having vehicles parked off the street during snow events allows DPW crews to clear these snow routes quicker and move on to neighborhood streets.
For more information visit the Snow & Ice Removal page on the City of Muscatine web site. You can also call the Department of Public Works at 563-272-2506 for more information.
Snow Emergency Ordinance Q&A
Clear your sidewalks but don’t shovel into street:
There are two other sections in City Code that deal with snow and ice removal.
Section 3-1-4 states that property owners are responsible for clearing natural accumulations of snow and ice from the sidewalks within 24 hours after the last snowfall. If the property owner does not clear the sidewalk in a reasonable time, the City will attempt to notify the property owner to remove the snow and ice. If the City clears the snow and ice, the property owner will be assessed the costs of removal.
Section 3-1-7 simply states that it is unlawful to throw, push or place any ice or snow from private property, sidewalks or driveways onto the streets.
Title III: Public Ways and Property