SIOUX CITY | Working to clear nine inches of snow, the second round of Sioux City plow crew members are out driving 50 rigs to blade away snow Friday morning.
City Street Superintendent Ed Pickens said a crew of 15 people worked from 7 p.m. Thursday to 7 a.m. Friday, plowing the city’s primary streets. The second shift with more people began at 7 a.m., aiming toward the city’s policy guideline of clearing all streets within 72 hours.
That’s happening even as snow is expected to continue dropping until about 2 p.m., according to the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls.
“We have our full day crew out. Things are going as good as they can,” Pickens said. “…We are going to work around the clock until all the streets are cleared.”
Pickens said people driving in neighborhood streets will find some difficulty, given the heavy snow. He reminded people that a city snow emergency is in effect, so parking is only allowed on one side of the street, under the policy where people park on the side with even-numbered homes on a day with an even number.
The National Weather Service reported the Sioux City record for Thursday, Feb. 23 was reached with 8.2 inches of snow. One more inch fell on Friday by 6 a.m., taking the total to 9 inches in Sioux City. From two to four more inches is expected by the time the snow moves out of Siouxland midday Friday.
That means the snow event has the potential to live up to the NWS prediction of snow for 12 to 15 inches, which was announced Thursday. The snow began about 5 p.m. Thursday in Sioux City.
The area remains under a Blizzard Warning until noon. There are reports that 12 inches of snow fell in Yankton, South Dakota, 60 miles west of Sioux City.
The Iowa Department of Transportation reported many roads in Northwest Iowa are completely covered. Sioux City metro schools are closed and many more throughout the area also called off classes.
Dakota County (Nebraska) Sheriff Chris Kleinberg said having schools closed helps by keeping people off roads. Kleinberg noted the Tyson Foods plant in Dakota City is open, so some people are going to jobs.
Kleinberg said there had been no severe wrecks through Friday morning. He said Nebraska Highway 35 is “horrible,” with snow and several hills that make keeping it cleared problematic.
“Stay home. Drive slow and take your time,” Kleinberg recommended.
The highest snow amounts are expected south of Iowa Highway 18.
Heavy winds are making conditions worse, as winds of up to 30 mph have accompanied the snow. The combination has made for whiteout conditions in many places, with extremely short visibility lengths.
The Buena Vista Sheriff’s Office reported conditions near Storm Lake, Iowa, showed visibilities ranging from 100 feet to one-half mile. Roads have heavy drifting, but are passable. There have been no wrecks in Buena Vista County over the snow duration.
“If the wind wasn’t blowing, that would be a good deal. It is a typical spring snow, heavy and wet,” Pickens said.
The Sioux City Police Department in had responded to five spinouts or wrecks Friday morning through 9 a.m.
Pickens sought to look optimistically, as the city crews handle a tough task.
“We are on the downside of the winter. This is what happens in Iowa,” Pickens said.
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