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Tips to tackle Winter 2019

Post Date:12/18/2018 2:00 pm

This story originally appeared in the Winter 2019 Hometown Messenger 

The first day of winter is Friday, Dec. 21, though winter weather often arrives in Minnesota much sooner. How do you prepare for winter? Here are some things the Public Works Department recommends citizens consider before winter weather arrives.

  • Start up your snow blower and dust off your shovel 
  • Contact a snow removal service
  • Inspect your mailbox  
  • Store a container of sidewalk salt and sand at entryways
  • Install reflective yard markers
  • Stay back and away from snow plows

Winter parking rules include no parking after 2 inches of snowfall. Move vehicles from the street when a snowstorm is occurring. More information can be found in the winter parking map on the city's website. Residents must clear sidewalks within 36 hours. Commercial locations have 24 hours to clear sidewalks. Do not deposit snow in the street, as this is a violation of state law and city ordinance due to the hazardous conditions it creates.

Catch basins and storm inlets must remain free from snow and ice, leaves and other debris. Keep an eye on the street drains and small drainage ditches in front of your home or on your street all year long.

Damage to sod will be seeded in the spring. Mailboxes directly hit by the plow will be repaired or replaced. Report damage to publicworks@ShakopeeMN.gov. Be aware: Damage caused by snow hitting mailboxes that have not been properly maintained will not be covered by the city.

Stay up to date with your local weather. Make sure you know the terminology of these weather warnings.

  • Watch: Be aware, a storm is likely.
  • Warning: Take action. A storm is entering the area.

Subscribe to alerts wherever you get news or information and check the weather forecast before leaving the house.

While it's fun to play in the snow, remind children it is dangerous to play in snowbanks piled at the end of a road or driveway. Snow in a six-foot snow bank can weigh as much as 1,000 pounds. Additionally, plow drivers add snow to snowbanks during plowing. Children tunneling into snowbanks can be trapped or killed by a snow plow.

Winter tips from the mechanics at Shakopee Public Works

Tires

  • Inflation: Every 10-degree drop in temperature can drop your tire pressure by 1 pound.
  • Tread: Try the penny test, if the tread touches Washington’s head, you have at least 4/32”.
  • Snow tires: The rubber is designed to remain flexible, allowing the tire to grip the road better. All-season or summer tire rubber stiffens in extreme temperatures and becomes less able to provide sufficient traction.

Fluids

  • Fuel: Keep your gas tank at least half full to prevent moisture in the fuel system.
  • Washer fluid: Use rated -25 degree fluid. Summer blends can freeze causing reduced visibility.
  • Antifreeze: Confirm you have the proper strength and level. If the strength is not correct, it can freeze, causing expensive repairs. If the level is too low, the vehicle may not supply heat.

Supplies

  • Windshield cover: If you park outside, this can save you a lot of time having to scrape and defrost your windshield.
  • Ice scraper: If you live in Minnesota, this one is a no brainer! Buy a scraper strong enough to handle the heaviest of freezes.

Emergency

  • Keep a blanket, flashlight, boots, gloves, jacket, cell phone and roadside assistance phone number in your vehicle. Your car manufacturer, credit card or vehicle insurance policy may offer roadside assistance. Check your benefits!
  • If stuck or stranded, clear any snow from the exhaust, as fumes can come into the passenger compartment.
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