MUSCATINE, Iowa – The first major winter storm of the season swept through Muscatine Tuesday (Dec. 30, 2020) leaving behind 5.8 inches of snow topped with a tenth of an inch of ice making travel and snow removal difficult at best.
Crews from the City of Muscatine Department of Public Works (DPW) along with staff from other departments have been out since early Tuesday afternoon spreading salt at first and coming back later with the plows to move the snow to the curb.
“We start with salt first because the snow helps to keep the salt from spreading to areas that we do not want the salt to go,” Brian Stineman, DPW Director, said. “Once this is accomplished we come back with the plows.”
The City has been working to clear snow emergency routes and will move to side streets and then alleys as the work progresses.
“The roads are not in good condition at this time and with the slush that we are dealing with, it is a race against time to get everything pushed to the curb before it freezes hard overnight,” Stineman said.
The public can assist City staff with their snow removal efforts by utilizing off-street parking or to use alternate side parking when off-street is not an option. Alternative side parking asks residents to park on the even side of the street on even days and parking on the odd side of the street on odd days.
“As always, we encourage everyone who can to use off-street parking so that the plows can access the whole street,” Stineman said. “Remember to slow down, drive carefully, and enjoy the snow.”
Every available staff member has joined the snow removal effort including non-roadway maintenance staff who have been assigned to a one-ton plow truck to work the alleys.
“In our snow removal plan alleys are the last to be cleared,” Stineman said. “However, if we don’t get to them before it freezes tonight, they may become impassable.”
Stineman said that he hopes to have at least one pass through every street and alley before the slush freezes overnight.
“We understand the frustration of the travelling public and appreciate their patience and cooperation,” Stineman said. “With the sleet and ice that we received we are having a difficult time getting around town as well and have had to add tire chains to many of our snow plows. We are doing the best we can with the weather that we received.”
Another aspect of the snow removal effort is the clearing of the storm drains that have been covered up by the snow and ice. Collection & Drainage staff were out Wednesday clearing the catch basins so that the streets can drain better after they have been plowed. Many streets currently have standing water near the curb after last night’s rain.
Temperatures are expected to fall to around 10 degrees by early Thursday (Dec. 31, 2020) morning which could hamper snow removal efforts. However, the National Weather Service (NWS) out of the Quad Cities predicts sunny skies and a high of 26 degrees on Thursday. However, a second system is expected to impact Muscatine on New Year’s Day with an additional 1-3 inches of snow and sleet accumulation. Whereas Tuesday’s storm was snow first and then ice, Friday’s storm may start with ice and then turn into snow.
Visit Snow & Ice Control on the City of Muscatine website for more information.
MUSCABUS RUNNING SNOW ROUTES
MuscaBus, Muscatine’s Public Transit system, will continue to run snow routes until further notice. (See map)
As we move into the winter season, residents can be better prepared for hazardous conditions by visiting the National Weather Service Winter Safety page.
- A Winter Storm Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for significant winter weather and/or blizzard conditions. Time to prepare.
- A Winter Storm Warning is issued when a combination of heavy snow, blowing snow, and possibly ice mixed with snow is expected to impact the area. Time to act.
- A Blizzard Warning is issued when the combination of strong wind, low visibility, and heavy snow will significantly impact daily life.
If you are travelling plan extra travel time, drive slower and more cautiously, bundle up, and check the following links for road conditions: