News Flash

Press Release

Posted on: December 27, 2023

KNOW YOUR SNOW: Winter preparedness and Storm Lake snow removal policies

Screenshot 2023-12-27 094635

We would like to take this opportunity to remind residents of Storm Lake snow policies and the snow removal process – when the inevitable snow falls, you’ll know the drill.



  Most importantly, stay home when conditions are unsafe. Local law enforcement will spread the word when road conditions are poor. City plowing and sanding crews will be at work and will open streets as soon as possible, starting with emergency routes.



  Pay attention to weather reports and warnings. About the terminology:

  • A “Winter Storm Warning” is issued when heavy snow, sleet or freezing rain is imminent or occurring, and are typically first issued 12-24 hours before a storm event is expected to begin.
  • A “Winter Storm Watch” alerts the public to the possibility of heavy snow, blizzard, or heavy sleet or freezing rain. A watch may be issued up to 48 hours before a storm possibility is expected.
  • A “Winter Weather Advisory” is issued for accumulations of snow, freezing rain, sleet or freezing drizzle which may cause inconveniences and require caution when driving.



  The snow emergency allows plows to safely clear the streets and prevents potential damage to parked vehicles. Those who violate the snow emergency many have vehicles towed.

  The City policy prohibits parking on all City streets during a declared snow emergency. Snow emergencies run from 10 PM to 6 AM in residential areas and 2 AM to 6 AM in the downtown business district, unless otherwise announced.

Two parking lots in the downtown area are included in the ban. Two others remain open for overnight parking use by downtown residents – Lot A at 6th and Geneseo, and Lot C in the 700 block of Erie.


  How do you know if there is a snow emergency? The City makes every effort to reach residents when an emergency is announced.

  • A telephone hotline is available 24 hours a day to check snow emergency status: 213-SNOW (7669).
  • Snow emergencies are announced on the City’s website and social media pages.
  • Local and regional media are notified of snow emergency declarations.
  • Snow emergency signs are posted at large Storm Lake retail outlets.
  • Email and text alerts are available to those who sign up for notification. To sign up for City emergency alerts, see the City’s web page at, click on the “Alert Sign Up” button, and choose “News Flash: Emergency Alert.” You can also sign up for the Buena Vista County alerts system online at

  If conditions allow, a snow emergency may be lifted early, with the same public announcement system used.



  The arterial snow routes marked on the accompanying map are cleared at any hour to maintain access. About 14 miles of emergency routes provide service to within three blocks of all residential properties. They allow for direct access to businesses, schools, nursing facilities, medical facilities and government buildings. Other streets are typically cleared overnight or as snow subsides. To keep the snow removal system as effective and efficient as possible, plows are not allowed to deviate from their assigned routes.

 In the downtown business district, snow plowed from streets and alleys may be hauled away during the following night hours, when there is little traffic.



  Snow and ice should be removed from public sidewalks as soon as possible to keep pedestrians safe. City Code required sidewalks to be cleaned within 72 hours of a snow or ice event.

  Fire hydrants need to be kept cleared to save precious minutes in an emergency. The City and the Storm Lake Fire Department appreciate residents’ efforts to keep snow from piling up around the hydrants. If hydrants are covered and you are unable to remove the snow, please alert the fire department at 732-8010.



  For information on preparing your home and car for winter and staying safe during winter weather, see

  Questions on City snow removal policies? We’re here to help – contact us at 732-8000.


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