‘We’re pretty much always ready’

MARSHALL – This weekend’s snowstorm was a heavy one, leading to a local emergency declaration and closing area schools. However, in spite of the conditions, there were still a few factors working in road crews’ favor on Sunday and Monday, officials said.

Marshall got more than eight inches of snow over the weekend, starting late on Saturday. Precipitation readings at the Marshall wastewater treatment plant showed 2.5 inches of snow on Saturday and 6.5 inches on Sunday. The city of declared a 48-hour snow emergency on Sunday, lasting until noon today.

The state of emergency was a limited one, “specific only to winter snow removal routes,” said Marshall Public Works Director Glenn Olson. Vehicle ticketing and towing were in effect along emergency snow removal routes and other restricted areas. Meanwhile, local residents were also encouraged to remove vehicles from the streets to allow workers to plow from curb to curb.

Olson said declaring the snow emergency was a joint decision, after conversations between himself, the municipal streets superintendent and the Marshall police chief. The decision was to stick to a more limited snow declaration, because at midday Sunday, “we didn’t really know what was still coming,” Olson said. “It must have been an appropriate thing to do, because the snow tapered off.”

Snowplow crews were focused first on snow emergency routes and main roads in Marshall, and then they moved on to secondary and residential roads, he said.

The snow was heavier than in the last storm the Marshall area experienced, but Olson and Lyon County highway superintendent Jim Thomasson said there were factors that were helpful for snow removal. Temperatures were warmer, which meant road salt and sand were more effective. And unlike snowier winters in the past few years, there was also plenty of room to remove snow from streets and highways.

Road crews were also busy clearing Lyon County highways on Sunday and Monday. Thomasson said snowplows were able to cover all of the county’s snow removal routes. At this point in the season, he said, “we’re pretty much always ready.”

County crews would likely continue working today, Thomasson said. Snow accumulation was heavier in the western part of the county, he said, and there was some drifting going on Monday.

Olson said there is still some cleanup to be done in Marshall, especially in residential areas. He said parking off the street if possible will help make it easier to plow those areas and urged local residents to be patient with snow removal efforts.

Olson said information on winter parking restrictions is available on the Marshall city website, www.marshallmn.com.

Property owners are also required to remove snow and ice from public sidewalks within 12 hours after a snowfall, Olson said. City codes and ordinances on snow removal can also be found on the city website.