The city of Brainerd declared a snow emergency effective 5 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 18.

Snow plowing will begin 5 a.m. Saturday on the following streets:

  • All snow emergency routes.

  • All north-south streets or streets that generally run north-south.

  • All streets west of the Mississippi River.

  • All streets south of Wright Street.

The city will plow all city streets Saturday. Cleanup will begin 6 a.m. Tuesday on the following streets:

  • All snow emergency routes.

  • All east-west streets or streets that generally run east-west where cars were plowed around on Saturday. Hauling of snow from the central business district will also take place.

Vehicles parked on east-west streets Saturday will be plowed around. Vehicles should be moved from east-west streets to north-south streets before Tuesday morning. Cars parked on snow emergency routes will be ticketed and towed immediately.

Parking is banned on every north-south street Saturday until it has been plowed from curb to curb. All vehicles plowed around on the north-south streets will be issued a $25 parking citation. Vehicles not moved within 48 hours of being plowed around will be towed at the owner’s expense.

More information on snow emergencies is available at ci.brainerd.mn.us/182/Snow-Emergencies.

A person walks as snow starts to fall Friday, Jan. 17, on Laurel Street in Brainerd. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch
A person walks as snow starts to fall Friday, Jan. 17, on Laurel Street in Brainerd. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

Crow Wing County plowing

Crow Wing County snowplows will begin plowing Friday as the snow begins to accumulate. The plows will continue plowing into the nighttime hours and begin plowing again 5 a.m. Saturday. The county asks motorists to drive only if necessary and give themselves extra time to get to their destination.

Clear address signs

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office reminds residents to make sure their rural address sign, commonly referred to as their “blue number sign,” is free of snow and ice on both sides.

This winter’s snow is piling up, and in some instances, covering up address signs making it difficult for responders to find residences in the event of an emergency.

“Having a sign easily visible will help ensure a timely response from emergency personnel in the event of an emergency,” the sheriff’s office reported.

In accordance with Cass County policy, after the initial installation of the blue property number signs, the signs become the responsibility of the property owner. “If the blue property sign or post becomes damaged or needs replacement, the landowner may contact the Highway Department for a replacement sign and/or post, at their expense,” the ordinance states. “It is also the owner’s responsibility to install replacement signs and posts.”

The cost of a replacement sign is $20. The cost of a replacement post is $5. It may take two to three weeks for a replacement sign.

A person walks to the post office through the falling snow Friday, Jan. 17, in Brainerd. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch
A person walks to the post office through the falling snow Friday, Jan. 17, in Brainerd. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

Take precautions

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety askes motorists to take the following precautions before driving.

  • Clear snow and ice from vehicle windows, hood, headlights, brake lights and directional signals. Drive with lights on for best visibility.

  • If the conditions are too poor, do not travel unless it is necessary.

  • If taking a trip, tell someone at the destination of the expected arrival time and travel route.

When hitting the road

  • Buckle up: It’s the first line of defense in a crash.

  • Drive at safe speeds according to road conditions and allow for plenty of travel time. Be patient, there will be traffic.

  • Increase stopping distance between vehicles.

  • Use extra precautions when driving near snowplows by keeping at least 10 car-lengths behind plows.

  • If skidding, remain calm, ease foot off the gas and turn the steering wheel in the desired direction of the front of the vehicle.

  • The law requires drivers to turn on headlights when there is precipitation. Do not use cruise control on snowy, icy or wet roads.

Move over for flashing lights. Law enforcement, tow trucks and other emergency vehicles will assist motorists involved in crashes or who become stranded. People should always look for flashing lights and move over at least one lane as soon as possible to protect themselves and those working on the side of the road. If drivers cannot move over, they’re encouraged to slow down.

Winter survival kit

  • Winter weather can pose a deadly threat in mere minutes for any unprepared person exposed to the elements.

  • Drivers can become stranded for long periods of time anywhere.

  • Stranded drivers should stay in their vehicle to take shelter from the elements.

  • Response from law enforcement may be delayed due to weather conditions, lack of cellphone service, or an increase in calls for help.

  • A winter survival kit should be kept in all vehicles in the event of spin-outs and/or breakdowns.

  • This kit should include the following items: boots, jackets, gloves, blankets, a cellphone charger, flashlight with spare batteries, bottled water and snacks, booster cables, basic tools, sand or cat litter, a red bandana, a pencil and paper.

If stranded

  • If stranded and need to call 911, make sure to know the exact location, especially if in an unfamiliar area.

  • Dispatchers can send help more quickly with a precise address, mile marker or cross street information.

  • Follow instructions; stranded motorists may be told to stay where they are and wait for rescuers.

  • Drivers should not hang up until they know what will happen next.

Carbon monoxide

  • Carbon monoxide poisoning incidents peak when it is cold and snowy due to increased use of heat sources like fireplaces and wood stoves. Blowing snow can also block exhaust vents on the sides or tops of homes.

  • Clear snow from outdoor furnace, dryer, fireplace or oven vents and test CO alarms to ensure they are working properly. A CO alarm should be on each level of a home and within 10 feet of sleeping rooms.

Safe heating

  • Space heaters and other alternative heat sources are a go-to for many Minnesotans but the devices need to be used with extreme caution.

  • Keep portable heaters 3 feet from anything that can burn.

  • Never leave portable heaters unattended or sleep with them on.

Clear hydrants

  • It can take firefighters precious time to dig out a hydrant covered in snow in the event of a house fire. Clear a 3-foot path around neighborhood fire hydrants.