MUSCATINE — Though the more than 13 inches of snow that fell on Muscatine helps set the mood for the holidays, but getting around in it tests patience for drivers.
"Snow removal is going about as well as can be expected for such a large event," said the city's Public Works Director Brian Stineman. "Due to the nature of this storm, with rain turning to sleet and then snow, plowing has been difficult and some areas remain snow packed and icy."
The city issued a snow emergency at noon Sunday and will still be in effect until noon today. Initial reports from the National Weather Service (NWS) in the Quad-Cities estimated snowfall totals from eight to 12 inches. According to Iowa State University's Iowa Environmental Mesonet Local Storm report map, five to 13 inches of snow fell starting Sunday into Monday in Muscatine. Drifts up to three feet tall were also reported. Muscatine schools were canceled and some area industries had late starts.
To prepare for the accumulation, Stineman said crews were out Sunday morning putting salt on the roads. Clearing of snow started after it began collecting, he said, and will continue until all roads and alleys are open. Stineman anticipates all roadways open Wednesday.
"Our team is tired, but working hard around the clock," Stineman said. "We ask for everyone's patience as we continue with snow removal."
Roads designated snow emergency routes connecting to hospitals, schools or transit are cleared first from "curb-to-curb," according to the city, when a snow emergency has been declared. After those roads (categorized as Class 1) have been cleared, crews clear the Central Business District, residential streets and then alleys. A map of the snow routes and MuscaBus public transportation routes may be viewed on the city's website.
Parking vehicles off-street would "greatly increase the effectiveness and speed at which we can complete our work," Stineman said. Questions may be directed to Public Works by calling 563-263-8933.
According to Iowa State Trooper Dan Loussaert, towing is now allowed on all state roads including Muscatine County and surrounding Cedar, Clinton, Jackson, Jones and Scott counties. Drivers should "watch their speed and give tow trucks room to work," he said.
The NWS Q-C report from Monday afternoon doesn't expect any additional snow accumulation this evening, but another potential storm of rain and snow is in the forecast for later this week. The storm is anticipated to move through the Midwest.
"Current indications are the storm may intensify as it moves through the area suggesting the potential for hazardous weather in the form of heavy rain or snow," the report read. As the storm is still too far off, the report didn't provide further details of what will come. Wind chills tonight are expected to be zero degrees, especially in areas of snow, the report read.
More information about the snow removal policy may also be found on its website. City code does require owners to clear sidewalks outside of residential properties within 24 hours of the last snowfall. City code also states snow accumulated on private property may not be dumped into the street. More details about snow and the city code may also be found on the city's website.
"Please visit the city website for our snow removal policy," Stineman said, "and drive carefully."