Snow emergency begins at 11 p.m. Monday

Published 2:15 pm Monday, February 8, 2010

A 72-hour snow emergency will go in to effect for downtown Austin at 11 tonight and for residential areas starting at 8 a.m. Tuesday.

During a snow emergency, motorists should park on the even side of the street on even calendar days, and on the odd side of the street on odd days. Cars left on the wrong side can be ticketed and towed.

City engineer Jon Erichson said he currently has about a dozen plows out on city streets, as well as smaller trucks handling parking lots. At 1 a.m. Tuesday, that team will shift its attention to downtown and the Sterling Main Street Mall in an effort to completely plow the areas. As such, parking in the downtown and Sterling areas of Austin is completely prohibited between 1 a.m. and 8 a.m.

Snow emergencies are typically declared when four inches of snow accumulates, Erichson said. Because the current snowfall has been slower and more spread out than storms earlier this winter, Erichson said roads will be easier to keep clear for motorists, and the snow emergency may be called off in less than 72 hours. However, the consistent snowfall does mean more work for city crews, Ericshon said, because they have to go over areas multiple times.

Between one and four inches of snow has fallen so far in southeastern Minnesota, according to the National Weather Service. Forecasts for Austin project three to five inches total for Monday during the day, plus another two to four inches overnight. Snowfall is expected to continue through Tuesday, the NWS reports, with another inch of accumulation possible.

Check for more.