First blast always a wake-up call
Minneapolis was jolted with their first big blast of blustery, winter weather this last weekend.
Almost a foot of snow fell in some areas, thousands of people were without power, and over 400 accidents were recorded during the intensity of the storm.
We were lucky to escape the effect this time, but rest assured our turn is coming.
With that in mind, the time is right for a renewed awareness of winter storm conditions and all that comes with it, the snow, wind and ice when it finally hits.
A few simple reminders will go a long way in making lives easier for all motorists as well as city crews responsible for keeping our streets clean and our sidewalk rules enforced.
Parked vehicles on roadways always present a huge problem during heavy snowfalls. City ordinance states vehicles cannot park in any one place on a street or alley for longer than 72 hours.
When a heavy snowfall hits, parking restrictions automatically go into effect on all primary snow emergency routes where there has been an accumulation of snow and ice of three inches or more for one hour or more between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m.
What this means simply is streets need to be vehicle free during this time, so snow cleanup can move forward unhindered as quickly as possible.
With the precipitation also comes ice and snow-covered sidewalks.
Keeping sidewalks ice and snow free is the responsibility of the property owner or occupant.
City ordinance states that snow or ice must be removed from any public sidewalk within the city of West Fargo, either business or residential in nature. If any person or corporation either neglects or refuses to clean the sidewalk abutting their property, the city can initiate action to have city crews coordinate the effort and assess the property owner for the work.
Another area of concern is sump pump hoses across sidewalks, which turn into hazards, when water from those draining hoses freeze, making for slippery situations and potential accidents for individuals walking on the sidewalks.
The city ordinance says that sump pumps not be placed on or over a public sidewalk; however, property owners may request permission from the city to bury their sump pump hose under the sidewalk as a way of conforming to the ordinance.
When it comes to the first blast of winter, accompanied by substantial snowfall, a little bit of common sense and consideration always goes a long way.
If you know you might be causing a problem for snow removal crews, take the time to move your vehicle, and don't wait for the snow to become rock hard on your sidewalk before you clean it off.
Being reactive right away will make the job a whole lot easier for everyone involved when that first big blast of winter does decide to hit.