Snow Event Scenario
Presented on this page are examples of what might take place during a typical snow event during the week. The timing of the event, the rate and amount of snow, high wind, and/or the temperature may all change the scenario in one way or another. Every attempt is made to finish both the snow plowing and downtown snow removal in a normal 8 hour shift respectively, but overtime hours may be needed under certain circumstances.
At the same time that Street Department is plowing the streets, lots, alleys, and sidewalks the Park Maintenance crew is in the process of plowing the parking lots around Park and Recreation facilities as well as the sidewalks adjacent to Park property.
It's a merit to the crew of the Street Department and Park Maintenance that the City streets, lots, alleys, and sidewalks are so efficiently and consistently maintained during snow and ice control operations.
Any Tuesday in Winter
- Snowfall begins: 11:30 am snow begins to fall lightly at first then heavier. By 1 pm the streets are starting to become slippery.
- Plow/Sanding operations begin: 1 pm five plow/sanding trucks are dispatched to spread sand at controlled intersections, hills and any other trouble spots. Snow continues to fall at varying rates throughout the day.
- Quitting time: 3:30 pm is quitting time at the Street Department. Five people are asked to stay and continue sanding operations to keep the priority streets drivable. Two crews of five will be used if needed, 3:30 - 7:00 pm and 7:00 - 10:00 pm
8 pm the snow becomes heavy, the sanding crew cannot keep up with snowfall. There's about 3 inches on the ground. Calls begin to alert the entire street crew of a 4 am start on Wednesday to plow snow and the individuals working on the sanding crew go home at 10 pm. The Police are informed of Street Department status and schedule for snow plowing.
Wednesday - Snow Plowing
At 4 am on Wednesday all Street, Cemetery, and Garage personnel report to work for snow plowing. There's 6 inches of snow on the ground and the snowstorm is over. The motor graders and plow trucks report to their assigned priority streets and begin plowing. The cul-de-sac route truck begins plowing cul-de-sacs, and the loader and skid steer begin plowing City owned parking lots and alleys. Meanwhile, 1 mechanic from the garage begins the downtown City sidewalk route using a riding snow blower. 1 mechanic is left in the garage to handle any breakdowns or repair. Downtown snow emergency route, all driving lanes are plowed, except Minnesota Street is plowed and snow piled up.
After finishing their priority routes the wheel loader, motor graders and dump trucks separate into plow teams. The north plow team and south plow team use Center Street as a divider. All east/west streets are plowed first, then north/south streets are completed. The hilltop plow team does all of the streets simultaneously until completed.
As the motor graders and dump trucks are plowing, the sanding truck is spreading salt/sand throughout the City at critical locations behind the plows. The parking lots, designated alleys, cul-de-sacs, sidewalks, and the snow dump are all plowed during this time.
Downtown Snow Emergency
Approximately mid-morning the decision is made to declare a "Downtown Snow Emergency". The proper media notifications are made to remove snow from downtown on Thursday.
By noon the City-wide snow plowing is complete. All personnel involved have worked an 8 hour shift. City streets, cul-de-sacs, parking lots, alleys, and sidewalks have all been cleared and sanded. The crew leaves for the day.
Typical Downtown Snow Emergency
Thursday - Downtown Snow Removal
- 1 am the loader operator and skid steer operator report to work to begin breaking up piles, cleaning intersections and spreading the snow out in the street for the motor graders to begin pulling it into windrows.
- 2 am the 2 motor grader operators report to work to begin pulling snow away from the curbs and windrow it in the middle of the street for the snow blower.
- 4 am the blower operator and truck drivers report to work to begin loading and hauling the snow away from the designated downtown streets.
- Each crew member works an 8 hour shift to complete their respective duties. Generally, by noon the downtown snow removal operations are complete.
Friday - Parking Lot Snow Removal
- 4 am a loader operator and 2 (or more) truck drivers report to work to begin hauling snow from City parking lots. This snow was stockpiled in various locations during snowplowing.
- Each crew member starting early works an 8 hour shift.
Snow Removal Between Snow Events
Various areas of the City are susceptible to drifting, large deposits of snow may accumulate in these areas making the streets narrow or obstructing the view at intersections. On an as needed basis and as time permits, this snow may be hauled away. The operation to perform this hauling typically begins at 4 am and is as follows.
Snow Blower / Haul Trucks
The snow blower arrives with the haul trucks to begin hauling the snow. The blower runs along the curb picking up the snow along the curb. As the trucks are loaded they haul the snow to a predetermined dump site and return for another load. The length of the haul is a factor as to how many trucks are used. The idea is to keep the blower working constantly.
The loader works to remove snow from intersection corners and from the top of the catch basins. The loader will place the snow in a windrow so the snow blower can pick up as it goes through an intersection. This helps visibility of approaching vehicles and helps drainage as the weather warms up and snow melt begins.
This operation tends to move fairly quickly from one block to the next. Starting at 4 am allows the crews to work on the busier streets before the traffic is a big factor. When the traffic picks up the operation is moved to the less traveled streets in need of snow removal.