While residents and street crews in several southeastern Iowa counties spent much of this week digging themselves out of last weekend’s snowfall, another winter weather storm is on the way Friday.
On Thursday, the National Weather Service issued a winter storm watch for more than a dozen southeast Iowa counties, including Linn and Johnson, from 3 p.m. Friday to 3 p.m. Saturday.
“It will be a drier, fluffier snow than the previous one we had. With strong winds, that will create drifting snow and some blowing snow,” said David Cousins, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in the Quad Cities.
Linn and Johnson counties could see about 6 to 10 inches of snow, followed by a drop in temperature. Cousins said Sunday’s wind chill could bring temperatures down to as low as 11 below zero.
“Those wind chills will be something to watch out for,” he said.
The expected snowfall comes just one week after the area was hit with about 6 inches of snow.
According to data provided by the Iowa Department of Transportation, the snow event from Jan. 11 to 12, which dropped half a foot of snow or more on the state’s southern and eastern counties, cost about $2.1 million for salt application and labor hours. Iowa DOT plow trucks dumped more than 30 million pounds of salt on state-owned roads and racked up just over 9,200 labor hours statewide.
In Cedar Rapids, city crews put out 2,000 tons of a sand and salt mix and another 100 tons of straight salt, Brian McLeod, lead street maintenance supervisor with public works, said in an email.
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“Last weekend we had a 10- to 12-hour snow event, which posed some challenges as it required us to make multiple passes on the same roads to keep them clear,” he said. “There’s also the potential for refreezing and snow compaction with those slow moving systems. We have continued with snow clean up in residential areas all week.”
McLeod noted that the sand being used this year was stocked up in 2016 for that year’s flood protections but never touched floodwaters.
Emergency snow routes — those used as main arterials, bus routes, in school zones and near hospitals — are cleared first, with main collector streets after, McLeod said. Residential streets often come after those, he said.
McLeod said Wednesday that crews were gearing up for round two.
“Prep work is underway, crews are changing blades and greasing equipment,” he said. “Pre-treatment is extremely important, you can really tell the difference when a road has had pre-treatment material placed on it in advance.”
For residents, McLeod reminded those with vehicles parked on the street to keep an eye on if a snow emergency is declared. If that happens, residents need to park on the odd-address side of the street on odd calendar days and vice versa on even calendar days from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Vehicles illegally parked during a snow emergency will be fined or towed.
McLeod also reminded residents to not push snow from their driveway or business parking lot into public streets.
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