Snow emergency

Snow emergency

A snow emergency is declared when a major snowstorm hits or is expected to hit a city. It indicates that certain major streets must be cleared of all parked automobiles, so that snowplows and other snow removal equipment can clear snow from the streets. This allows those important routes to stay open, primarily for emergency vehicles, but also for other traffic. The particular streets are marked with permanent street signs as snow emergency routes, and motorists who do not remove their cars from these streets within a reasonable time face traffic tickets and fines. Vehicles that remain parked on such a route during a snow emergency may be towed away.

On other non-essential routes, additional parking rules may also come into effect, like parking on only a certain side of the street, such as the side with even or odd-numbered addresses, or not being allowed to park at the end of a cul-de-sac or dead end, and having to move and repark to the other side as each portion of a street is plowed and cleared.

Typically, the emergency is declared by the mayor or other high official. The declaration is usually issued before the storm hits, as drivers may be unable to move or even reach their cars after it has begun. This is not a product issued by the National Weather Service.

In case of extreme snow falls, a driving ban may be imposed when driving around becomes extremely difficult and hazardous. For example, when about 7 feet (2.1 m) of snow hit Buffalo, New York at the end of 2001, a driving ban was imposed for all but emergency vehicles.

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