Preparations are underway for a potential winter storm, the first major one of the season, and the Muscatine Department of Public Works is outfitting their fleet of trucks with snow plows and salt boxes while continually monitoring the forecast for the timing and path of the storm.
“We are closely monitoring the forecasts in preparation of the anticipated winter storm,” Brian Stineman, Public Works Director, said Thursday. “All of our equipment and staff are ready to go.”
The National Weather Service (NWS) out of the Quad Cities issued a Winter Storm Watch for Muscatine and the surrounding area from 6 a.m. Saturday to 12 a.m. Sunday with heavy snow possible and accumulations of four to seven inches possible.
Light ice accumulations are also possible with the potential for strong north winds over 30 mph causing some blowing and drifting snow. Much colder weather will follow with high temperatures in the single digits Sunday and lows below zero with wind chills approaching 20 degrees below zero.
Roadway Maintenance Supervisor Randy Howell said Thursday that crews are out putting a brine mixture down on city streets in preparation for the anticipated snowfall.
“We are just watching for updated forecasts to find out what we will receive and when,” Howell said. “We can then schedule the crews and clear the streets.”
City streets and alleys will be slippery as crews work to clear them and will become even more slippery as the melted snow turns to ice as the temperature falls to the single digits and below zero.
Residents are reminded to slow down and use caution if they have to be out this weekend, and to find off-street parking, if possible, as crews work to clear the snow over the weekend.
“As always, we encourage everyone who can to use off-street parking so that the plows can access the whole street,” Stineman said.
Visit Snow & Ice Control on the City of Muscatine website for more information.
While the impact this system will have on Muscatine and the surrounding area is not known, Stineman again urged residents to reacquaint themselves with the snow procedures of the City of Muscatine and to refresh themselves on winter safety.
“Residents can assist with snow removal operations by avoiding parking on the street during these snow events,” Stineman said.
If off-street parking is not an option, residents can use the “alternate side of street” parking plan that is specified in the City of Muscatine Snow Emergency Ordinance.
The “alternate side of parking” plan allows vehicles to be parked on the odd-numbered side of the street on odd-numbered days, and on the even-numbered side of the street on even-numbered days. On all streets where parking is allowed on one side only, if the permitted side (where parking is allowed) is even numbered, vehicles can park on that side only on even-numbered days.
If the permitted side (where parking is allowed) is odd-numbered, vehicles can park on that side only on odd-numbered days. No parking is ever allowed on the side of the street where parking is prohibited by posted sign.
Stineman added that the city will continue to monitor forecasts.
“We will adjust our snow removal efforts as necessary to provide the safest road conditions possible for the traveling public,” Stineman said. “As always we advise drivers to slow down and use extra caution when driving in winter weather conditions.”
Remember your sidewalks
While the city works to clear streets, alleys, and parking lots of snow and ice, it is the responsibility of property owners to clear their sidewalks. The benefits of clearing sidewalks include reducing the potential for pedestrian falls while traversing the property, and clearing a safe path for public safety personnel if they are needed at the property.
Section 3-1-4 of the Muscatine City Code 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.
Contractors or individuals working to clear sidewalks and driveways of snow and ice accumulations are reminded that depositing snow and ice accumulations upon city streets is a violation of City Ordinance 3-1-7 (D) Dumping of Snow. Whether you are shoveling, using a snow blower, or utilizing a snow plow, the placement of snow and ice accumulations is required to be on the property of the residence or business, and not pushed or thrown onto city streets.