Snow emergency possible with coming storm

By David Hotle, The JOURNAL


While Washington Police Chief Greg Goodman and Washington maintenance superintendent J.J. Bell haven?t discussed declaring a snow emergency yet, the forecast for the coming week may require the city to declare the emergency.

According to the National Weather Service (NOAA) station in the Quad Cities, a winter weather advisory has been called beginning at 10 a.m. today, with accumulating snow reported this morning into late evening. The NOAA website reports ?A storm system will bring snow accumulations of 2 to 6 inches to the region. The snow should enter Eastern Iowa by late morning and then spread eastward into northwest and western Illinois early this afternoon. Very cold temperatures in the teens to lower 20s will allow the snow to quickly accumulate and cause snow-covered roads and hazardous driving. Visibilities will be frequently less than a mile in the heavier snowfall.? NOAA warns motorists should plan on slippery road conditions and reduced visibilities at times, impacting the after-school drive and evening commutes. Another storm system may bring light snow accumulations to much of the Outlook area Tuesday night, especially south of Interstate 80. More periodic snow accumulations are possible from Thursday night through Saturday. However, it is too early to determine favored snow placement and amounts.

?If we start getting a lot of snow where travel gets difficult and cars in the way become difficult with plow issues, we could call a snow emergency,? Goodman said this morning. ?That may be evaluated yet. With the amount of snow that is possible, we may do a snow emergency; we just haven?t talked about it yet. We are just waiting to see.?

Goodman commented that many factors would go to declaring a snow emergency, such as the amount of snow and the wind. Bell?s crews are the ones plowing and they are asked for input on whether a snow emergency should be declared.

During the snowstorm, Goodman recommended people pay attention to news outlets to determine if a snow emergency is declared. The Washington Evening Journal posts snow emergencies on its website.

The Washington Police Department?s Facebook page also announces if a snow emergency is called. Sometimes signs are also put on the square.

If an emergency is declared, Goodman said people would be required to remove their vehicles from the streets to make room for the plows.

He said once the snow has been cleared from the street, the vehicles can return. He said if snowing continues and plows are continuing to run, people still need to keep cars off the streets.

For cars belonging to people who live on the square, the city has an arrangement with Marion Avenue Baptist Church to use the parking lot where Perdock Motors used to be. If a vehicle is not moved during a snow emergency it can be towed. Goodman said a few years ago during a snow emergency some vehicles had to be towed.

?I understand some people aren?t very happy about it, but the city has a job to do too during those circumstances,? Goodman said.

He said the city makes a great effort to let people know about possible snow emergencies.