Christmas Eve storm puts Moscow's snow plowers to work

MOSCOW, ID - A Christmas Eve snowstorm provided the Palouse with a white Christmas, and gave them a reason to break out the shovels and snow blowers.

The Palouse didn't have to dream of a white Christmas this year. Monday's snow storm made it a reality, and it put Moscow's snow plowers to work.

"Christmas Eve, we had guys out all day long and plowed all the streets and did a full plowing on Christmas Eve," said Moscow Maintenance Manager Tyler Palmer.

You can count on the city to plow the roads when winter weather hits.

"When we get anywhere around you know, two and a half, three inches, we'll typically start plowing collector streets, the highways, trying to keep things clear," said Palmer. "And when we get much above three inches, then we'll plow residential streets including culdesacs, knuckles, dead ends."

But it's the property owner's job to take care of the sidewalks.

"City code assigns removal of snow to the homeowners," said Palmer. "So homeowners are responsible to remove snow and ice from the sidewalks adjacent to their property."

Palmer advises against throwing the snow into the street because it can create icy spots on the road.

"So we ask the homeowners to turn the shoots the other way, or push the other way and make sure they clear the snow onto their property and not out onto the street," said Palmer.

And make sure that any fire hydrants near your property are clear as well.

"We try to keep a circumference of at least three feet around them clear of snow," said Moscow Utility Operations Supervisor David Richardson. "When people clear off the sidewalks and stuff in front of their houses, we ask that they uncover the fire hydrants so the fire department can readily find them."

Winter weather can also create a parking problem. Citizens are asked to park off the streets in the event of a snowstorm so their cars don't get buried when the plows pass by.

"Nobody wants to dig a car out, and we don't want to bury a car," said Palmer. "The problem we'll run into, obviously, is that a snow plow is not a real precision piece of equipment, it just pushes snow pretty indiscriminately."

If there's a significant amount of snowfall, Moscow's Mayor can proclaim a Snow Event. When that happens, all cars parked along marked snow routes must be removed from that street within twelve hours.