By Robyn Wisch, KVNO News
A snow emergency has been declared for the city of Omaha, as of midnight tonight. Itâ€™s the first snow emergency of the season, and the first since Omaha issued new snow removal policies.
The new policy means that as of 12:01 am, all cars parked on city streets east of 72nd Street must be parked on the odd-numbered side of the road. Thatâ€™s because tomorrow is January 11th, an odd-numbered day, so cars must be parked on the side of the street with odd-numbered addresses. On even-numbered days: even-numbered addresses.
Scott McIntyre, Street Maintenance Engineer for Omahaâ€™s Public Works Department, said last year, plowing around parked cars would inevitably lead to more snow being pulled and swept back into the streets, so it would never entirely be removed.
â€œBeing able to go in and clear the parking lane entirely of snow, get it back behind the curb,â€ he said, â€œWe wonâ€™t have the situation that weâ€™ve hadâ€¦in past years, where that snow stays there over several freeze-thaw cycles. It gets packed down, and youâ€™re looking at snow on the streets for weeks or in the case of last year, months.â€
Last yearâ€™s heavy snowstorms were too much for the cityâ€™s snow plow fleet to keep up with, leading to equipment breakdowns and weeks of piled-high snow. This seasonâ€™s storms have been far less severe, and McIntyre said his team is keeping pace.
â€œWeâ€™re in pretty good shape, but equipment is always going to go down during an operation like this. We just know thatâ€™s going to happen, and we have mechanics on duty who are trying to bring that equipment back up as soon as they can.â€
A winter weather advisory remains in effect for the Omaha metro area until Tuesday morning. The National Weather Service predicts widespread snow across eastern Nebraska and southwest Iowa, with seven to 10 inches of accumulation expected by tomorrow morning. Snow is expected to taper off Monday night, but winds are expected to increase, with blowing snow and cold temperatures through Tuesday.