Des Moines crews plow main roads after first notable snowfall, prepare for stronger storm on New Years Day

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Grand Avenue in downtown Des Moines, Iowa after the city’s first noticeable snow of the winter.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Des Moines finally has its winter dusting of snow, but public works crews are more concerned about a potentially major snowfall on New Years Day.

“It looks like we’re getting 2022 and winter started in earnest,” said Des Moines Public Works director Jonathan Gano.

The city experienced an inch of snow Wednesday afternoon. Although it did impact travel in Des Moines, Gano said the snowfall was relatively minor on his department’s scale.

“It’s not enough to trigger a snowplowing of the whole city,” Gano said. “We’ll focus all of our attention on our 750 miles of snow routes.”

However, he said all of the city’s snowplow operators — more than 200 in total — are already on high alert for a storm projected to dump four to six inches of snow on Des Moines on New Years Day.

“That will be well past the threshold of two inches,” Gano said. “That will trigger a snowplow down every street in the city, more than 2,200 miles worth..”

Gano said there is one factor that helped crews Wednesday and will be a benefit through the weekend: the timing of the weather.

“It’s winter break, so a lot of the afternoon commute is not happening because people are on vacation,” Gano explained. “School is not in session either, so there’s also no school buses or school pickup traffic on the roadway.”

For more information on Des Moines Public Works’ procedures for removing snow, click here.

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