Ames expected to receive another 7 inches of snow, follow the snow ordinance


Kennedy DeRaedt/Iowa State Daily

A car sits snowed in on Lincoln Way. There was 6.2” of snow by the morning which breaks the 2015 snowfall record. 

Devyn Leeson

Levels of snowfall were near record lows for the winter season until mid-January when weather patterns changed significantly. Now — just one month later — records for the most snowfall in central Iowa over a 35 to 40 day period could be broken.

More than nine inches of snow was recorded in the Ames area from Saturday through Sunday, and National Weather Service Meteorologist Craig Cogill said a second snow storm is forecasted to hit Ames on Tuesday, bringing up to seven inches with it.

Constant snowfall seems to keep the pressure on Ames snow operators said Justin Clausen, Public Works operations manager.

“What has happened now over the last four, going on five, weeks is that we just get done piling up the snow before the next snowfall occurs,” Clausen said. “Typically we have time to haul away those snow piles, but when we get four-to-five inches of snow every three-to-four days, then we have these situations where the more we push, the harder it becomes to clear the streets and to find spaces to park off the street.”

Clausen said during an 80 hour period, the city of Ames had at least one person working at all times. This brings up a second issue, Clausen said: Making sure people working on snow removal get the time they need.

If snow patterns continue, these problems could become worse.

“It is not an issue yet, but if this continues for another two weeks or so, it will be hard to find a place to put the snow,” Clausen said.

To help snow plow operators in the meantime, Clausen and city of Ames Public Relations Officer Susan Gwiasda recommend people follow the snow ordinance, which requires people with vehicles parked along designated snow routes — designated by red and white signs — to move their vehicles to routes not used by the plows.

If possible, the city also recommends people clear cars from streets not designated as snow routes and stay patient while plows move through the city.

“We do ask people to be patient because we do focus on the main arterial roads first and the residential areas second,” Gwiasda said.  “So the idea would be to free up those streets for CyRide buses to drive on, for emergency vehicles to get through on, and then the neighborhoods and residential areas are not the top priority when we’re starting to plow.”

Cars not in compliance with the snow ordinance can be ticketed and towed. Clausen said cars are typically first given a ticket while the snow plow continues on its route. If that car is still in its spot by the time the plow returns, it will likely be towed.

“After recent snow events, I would say we have seen an average of 30 cars or so towed, which is a lot but also not unusual,” Clausen said.

Emily Berch contributed reporting to this article.