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Following Snow Emergencies, Cars End Up Impounded

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(credit: CBS) Nina Moini
Nina Moini joined the WCCO-TV team in August of 2013. She reports f...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – On Wednesday morning, crews across the Twin Cities were working hard to clear all the snow from the streets after many of them declared snow emergencies.

As always, that meant drivers needed to be extra cautious of where they parked, or end up getting towed.

Both Minneapolis and St. Paul declared snow emergencies on Tuesday, along with a number of the metro area suburbs.

In Minneapoils, Day 2 rules take effect at 8 a.m. That means no parking on the even side of non-snow emergency routes. Also, there’s no parking allowed on either side of parkways.

In St. Paul, all “Day Plow” routes will be plowed starting at 8 a.m., so no parking on non-posted east west residential streets, and no parking on non-posted sides of north-south residential streets.

Those quick overviews are meant just to get you thinking, because the best way to know for sure where you can and can’t park is by calling these numbers — 266-PLOW in St. Paul and 348-SNOW in Minneapolis.

And if you do park in those spots, you could end up getting towed. Mike Kennedy with the city of Minneapolis says they rather not have to tow cars because it just slows them down.

“We’re not in the business of towing cars. We’d much rather have an empty impound lot. We do aggressively tow because people call us and ask us to do that they say please come and get these cars so we can do a good job of plowing. Because we aggressively enforce, we have very aggressive outreach,” he said.

WCCO has reported a few snow emergencies across the metro already this season. Our meteorologists say we are actually 6 inches below average for the season, but the snow has been coming in bursts.

St. Paul has declared four snow emergencies, but are on budget. Minneapolis plans for five a season; they’re on the third, so they may have to ask for more funding.

City officials say a 3- to 5-inch threshold is usually when they plow and consider calling snow emergencies.

“It all depends on timing, intensity, duration of the storm, what time of year it is and factors like that. If it’s 10 inches of snow, it’s a no brainer. Events like this where we are kind of on the bubble, it’s a little more difficult,” Kennedy said. “We looked around and, because we have enough snow accumulated, we need to get the streets plowed.”

In smaller cities like Richfield, they say they give the option of paid overtime or time off for workers during snow emergencies. Many choose time off, so doesn’t impact budget as much.

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