Winter Weather Reminders
According to the National Weather Service, Moscow, Idaho has received 26.2 inches double the average amount of snow of 13.1 inches in the month of December. Given the excessive amount of snow, coupled with a limited amount of melt off due to colder temperatures snow removal and storage operations are including the following items are crucial:
Keep Fire Hydrants Cleared
- Citizens are requested to be observant of fire hydrant locations to ensure that emergency access to those hydrants is maintained.
- Hydrants on dead end streets and near parking lots are especially susceptible to being blocked.
- The Water and Fire departments request that a 2 to 3 foot circle around the hydrants be left clear of significant snow accumulations to provide clear emergency access.
- If residents are unable to clear a hydrant or wish to report a blocked hydrant, please call the City of Moscow Water Department at 208.882.3122.
Snow Plows and Roll Carts
- If you have a driveway, consider placing your roll-cart in the cleared driveway area rather than in front of or on top of the berm.
- Moscow residents are asked to promptly remove solid waste care from the curb line or collection area throughout the year. This is especially important during the winter months with snowfall when City of Moscow Street Crews are plowing roadways and sidewalks.
- To assist street crews, residents are asked to remove rolls carts from the curb line or collection area by 12 p.m. (noon) the day after their scheduled collection day.
- To ensure uninterrupted garbage service during snow events, residents are asked to provide and maintain clear access to roll carts with a minimum three (3) feet of clearance from any obstacles.
- For more information, please call the City of Moscow Sanitation Department at 208.883.7131.
The City of Moscow would also like to remind residents of these important factors as we continue to experience colder temperatures with an expectation of additional snow accumulation forecasted in the coming days.
Avoid Frozen Pipes
- Leave cabinet doors under sinks open, especially if they are located on exterior walls.
- Set thermostats no lower than 55 degrees, even if the house is unoccupied.
- Do not remove snow from the tops of water meter boxes unless it creates a safety hazard. An accumulation of snow will help insulate the water meter service and prevent freezing.
- Do not open water meter boxes as this will allow any natural heat to escape and may contribute to freezing of the water system. Insulation pillows (a small black looking pillow) is installed in most meter boxes. If your system tends to freeze, contact the water department. City workers will also continue to install insulation in boxes that have a history of freezing.
- Please call the water department for any problem with the water meter or emergency water shutoff.
- If your pipes do freeze, the best way to defrost pipes is to use a hair dryer, or call a plumber. If the system is frozen at the meter box or other issues, call the City of Moscow Water Department at 208.882.3122.
- According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating equipment is a leading cause of home fire deaths.
- Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
- Have a three-foot "kid-free zone" around open fires and space heaters.
- Never use your oven to heat your home.
- Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer's instructions.
- Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
- Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
- Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
- Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
- Test smoke alarms at least once a month.
With the expectation of additional accumulation beginning this weekend, residents are also asked to be mindful of snow loads and plowing procedures.
- With increased accumulation and with potentially warmer temperatures, freezing rain and melting conditions, the weight of snow on roofs and other structures can drastically increase.
- Make sure the roof drains and scuppers on commercial buildings are clear and working properly.
- Snow build-up needs to be removed, especially on older buildings that may not be constructed to the current code-required loads.
- Use of snow rakes whenever possible, rather than climbing onto the roof, is a good way to safely deal with drifted snow on the roof. Be sure to stand off to one side of the area being cleared to avoid the falling snow.
- Icicles on the eaves may be an indication of ice-damming on the roof. Ice damming occurs when snow melts above the heated portion of a structure and resulting water runs down to the unheated eaves and refreezes to form a thick layer of ice. This ice dam can then cause snow melt water to backup under shingles or other roofing materials causing roof leaks.
- Every effort should be made to clear the ice on the edges of the roof so that water damage does not occur. Snow and ice removal are low-cost methods to prevent damage to the structure of your homes and buildings.
Citizen Sidewalk Maintenance
- Under a Moscow City ordinance (title 5 section 9-3) it is the responsibility of the adjacent property owner to keep sidewalks clear of snow and debris, this includes the portion of sidewalk which runs to the middle of any adjacent public alley.
- Cleared snow should not be pushed into streets or other public rights of way as it can cause ice patches and blocks in those areas and can then be pushed back onto driveways and sidewalks by plow operations.
- Know of a snow-obstructed sidewalk? Contact the City of Moscow Streets Shop by phone at 208.883.7097 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- More questions about sidewalk plowing? Please call the Moscow Police Department Code Enforcement Officer, Patty Riedl at 208.883.7070.
Information on Street Snow Removal
- After snowfall events, major streets and arterials are plowed first, and repeatedly depending on the rate of the snow fall, followed by the lesser traveled residential areas.
- During heavy snowfall events, residents are asked to park off the street to allow plows to clear as much of the roadway as possible.
- If residents have a concern regarding a street that has not been plowed, please call 208.882.COPS.
- The Moscow Pullman Highway, Highway 8 and Highway 95 are State roads, and snow removal on these routes is performed jointly by the City of Moscow and the Idaho Transportation Department.
- The street crews work on staggered shifts during the late fall and winter each year. When a storm event occurs, the crews begin operations based on their shift schedules. If the storm is significant enough to warrant continued or additional operations, the crews work extended hours regardless of time or day of the week.
- If a series of storms occurs, additional staffing is added from other divisions of the Public Works Department to ensure round the clock operation of all snow removal equipment.
- For weekend and off-hours events, snow removal operations are activated based on the road conditions and the severity of the storm events. Work schedules, staffing levels and budgets have very little weight in this determination as it is based on the driving conditions and safety of the citizens.
- In 2010, the City Council authorized the Snow Removal Proclamation Ordinance. When a significant amount of snow falls, a Snow Event is proclaimed by the Mayor. At that time, notice is sent out via local newspapers, radio and TV station. Within 12 hours of the notice, all snow routes, which are designated and signed throughout the city, must be cleared of vehicles. This allows City crews to clear the entire street on each route, allowing for safer travel routes within the city.
- To report an issue, call the City of Moscow Streets Shop at 208.883.7097.