Forecasted snow storm prompts emergency declaration

Mayor James Hark issued an emergency declaration for the city as another major winter storm approached Friday afternoon in Hannibal.
By Danny Henley, Courier-Post Reporter
Posted: Jan. 18, 2019 5:09 pm

Mayor James Hark issued an emergency declaration for the city as another major winter storm approached Friday afternoon in Hannibal.

The issuance was prompted by the forecast, City Manager Jeff LaGarce said.

"Forecasts call for 8-10 inches beginning this evening, followed by temperatures dropping to lows of 8 degrees Fahrenheit, and sustaining cold temperatures over the next few days," he said. "High winds of 30-35 mph are forecasted during this period, which will cause drifting and visibility problems as well."

Also factoring in Hark's declaration is the amount of snow still on the ground after last weekend's storm dropped 13.7 inches.

"Streets are still being cleared from that snow. City plowing crews have been working all week to continue the process," LaGarce said. "This impending new snowfall will be problematic on top of the recent storm, as well as the large snow piles already stacked along streetsides and intersections. A combined 20-22 inches of snow over a seven- to eight-day period is proving difficult and creating safety concerns."

According to the city manager, city plow crews will continually clear streets using 12-hour alternating shifts.

Unlike last weekend, when street department personnel had little assistance, this weekend a private contractor, Bleigh Construction, has been hired to assist the city with clearing streets.

"Bleigh Construction will be clearing major roads and arterials, while city teams will focus on residential neighborhoods," LaGarce said. "By relegating arterial roads to Bleigh construction more effort can be placed in neighborhood areas and they can be cleared quicker. This is particularly important, because large snow piles and drifts already exist in neighborhoods from the last snow, requiring greater care when plowing roads, intersections and cul-de-sacs."

To help personnel who will be clearing Broadway, parking will be prohibited along it, from the floodwall to Maple Avenue, from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Saturday.

"This allows Broadway to be fully cleared for the public without having to navigate around parked cars and obstructions," LaGarce said.

In neighborhoods where on-street parking is normal, street department personnel will do the best they can to clear streets initially, according to LaGarce.

"City crews will clear as much of these roads as possible, but plow trucks cannot get too close to parked cars to avoid damaging them," he said. "When residents go back to work early next week, city plow trucks will return to those neighborhoods and fully clear those roads curb to curb."

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