No Snow Emergencies declared for the entire snow season, first time in 25 years

With snowfall far below normal, there hasn’t been a need to declare a Snow Emergency in Minneapolis this snow season. The current weather outlook is calling for above-average temperatures through the remainder of the month. If this forecast holds true, it’s unlikely that there will be any Snow Emergency declarations before the season officially ends on April 1. That would make this the first snow season in Minneapolis without a Snow Emergency since the winter of 1986-87 that saw only 16 inches of snow.

The overall impact this winter will have on the City’s budget will not be known until the end of the calendar year. The City’s 2012 snow and ice control budget is approximately $9 million. While the few snow events we had this season haven’t required the need to declare any Snow Emergencies, there has been snowfall, sleet and freezing rain that required crews to be out plowing and treating streets this winter.  In comparison to last year, when very heavy snowfalls had the City exceeding its snow and ice control budget in the first three months, the City has had to spend approximately $2.8 million less on snow and ice removal so far this year. However, because the snow budget is by calendar year and not by snow season, it’s impossible to speculate how much the City will eventually spend on snow and ice control in 2012.

Snow Emergencies are a way to implement the orderly movement of parked vehicles so crews can plow the full width of about 1,000 miles of streets. However, even though there weren’t any Snow Emergency declarations, this winter was far from being snow-free. Around 22 inches of snow fell throughout Minneapolis since this snow season began, and City crews responded as needed to plow and treat streets and alleys.

The season’s lower-than-normal snow totals follow one of the snowiest winters on record for Minneapolis. The 2010-11 season saw 86.6 inches of snow and a total of eight Snow Emergencies. Winter Parking Restrictions also had to be put in place that season, and for the previous season as well. Those restrictions, which ban parking on one side of non-Snow Emergency routes, were needed because high snow accumulations made city streets narrower and harder to navigate for emergency vehicles.

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Published Mar 21, 2012