BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – With the potential for another substantial winter storm hitting the area beginning Friday, city officials are asking property owners to help with getting streets cleared by following emergency snow removal protocols.
With last weekend’s storm still fresh in everyone’s mind and the city actually towing some vehicles today to finish removing snow from the streets, Police Chief Tim Sittig is asking everyone to work together to get the streets cleaned as quickly and efficiently as possible.
He said when city crews have to keep going back to revisit streets that have had cars in the way of plowing efforts, that’s when snow is repeatedly piled up in front of sidewalks, some of which may have already been shoveled.
“Its not our intention to take people’s vehicles, but the overall purpose is to keep streets clear. We just want to encourage people when the storm starts, do your best to keep your cars off the streets,” he said. “With this last warning, we’ll probably be towing some vehicles today.”
Sittig said the city can actually tow vehicles once a snow emergency has been called and he said there is a very good chance that another snow emergency will be called.
He said even if a snow emergency isn’t declared, but there is accumulation, just parking on the same side of the street, helps city workers.
“We try not to tow vehicles. This week, we spent a day and half knocking on doors trying to get people to come out and voluntarily move their cars. Monday and Tuesday we put snow stickers on cars. Today and the rest of the week if we see a big berm of snow around that car and it’s still got 10” of snow on it, it’s going to be subject to tow.
“If the streets are clear, it doesn’t take very long to clean them,” he said.
The area is under a winter weather advisory today and tomorrow, and then the larger storm is projected to move in on Friday.
According to the National Weather Service out of the Quad Cities, a winter weather advisory is in effect southeast Iowa, particularly south of Highway 34.
A statement from the NWS issued today indicates, “A winter weather advisory is in effect for portions of southeast Iowa, northeast Missouri and western Illinois later this evening into Thursday morning. This will impact the morning commute. Light snow is expected across the area this evening and overnight. For areas along and south of Highway 34, some freezing rain or freeezing drizzle may mix with the snow through the evening before changing to all snow before daybreak. Up to one of snow is expected across this area, elsewhere less than half an inch is expected. A glaze of ice is also expected. Temperatures will be in the upper 20s so untreated roads and bridges and overpasses will be especially vulnerable”
The NWS statement also addressed the potential for substantial winter weather on Friday and Saturday.
“A larger storm system will likely produce widespread accumulating snow across the area from Friday afternoon through Saturday. Several inches of snow accumulation will be possible with this system along with strong gusty winds by Saturday, which could produce blowing and drifting snow adding to the hazard. The exact track and strength of this system is still somewhat uncertain at this time, thus snowfall amounts and placement of the higher totals are also uncertain. Stay tuned for later forecasts and updates concerning this potentially significant winter storm system at the end of the week. Bitterly cold temperatures and wind chills are expected to follow in behind the departing storm system for Saturday night through Monday.”