For the first time since Rapid City revived its downtown snow alert policy in 2016, the procedures had to be put in place over the weekend.
Darrell Shoemaker, Rapid City communications coordinator, said the city had done away with the downtown snow alert policy about 25 years ago.
"The city had a program in the 90s,but it was abandoned," Shoemaker said. "The current red signs notifying the public about the snow alert are similar to signs that remained in the core area until 2016."
He said the city council put the snow alert back in place in 2016 and publishes details each year, but this was the first time it had to be enacted since it came back.
Shoemaker said the council will look at how the program was used and how effective it was after data is available.
"City officials will be assessing this past weekend's first usage of the alert. It's too early to determine what changes, if any, will be made to the program moving forward but the Downtown Snow Alert program is here to stay," he said. "Many communities in this region of the country, large and small, have some form of program to get cars off either business or residential streets for the purpose of efficient snow removal."
Rapid City Street Department Superintendent Dale Pfeifle said crews began their snow removal work at about 1 a.m., Monday in the downtown core area.
Due to the Downtown Snow Alert, 21 cars were towed to make way for the loaders and trucks removing the snow.
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Crews and contractors were also working in residential areas Sunday evening and overnight into Monday.
The National Weather Service estimated a total of 14 to 16 inches of snow fell in Rapid City and 17.5 inches were reported at the airport, coupled with the gusting winds of 40-60 miles per hour, during this weekend weather event between 6 p.m. Friday and 6 a.m. Sunday. By comparison, a total of 23.1 inches fell in Rapid City during the October 2013 blizzard event.
The city reported that work, "will continue downtown with heavy equipment including loaders but the heavy equipment work will be suspended to minimize conflict with the morning commute traffic."
According to a report from the city street department, "Some areas still have drift rows in the middle of the road and crews will be working this morning to plow the drift rows into piles on the streets. Drivers are advised to use caution today as there are still many large snow piles and drift rows that need attention as well as work on the intersection crossings."
Many businesses were able to clear sidewalks Sunday. They pushed the snow into the street for crews to pick up. According to the report from the city, "Unfortunately some business sidewalks have yet to be worked. Any material pushed out by businesses into street areas already plowed will not be collected as crews continue work in other areas of downtown."
For the rest of Monday, crews will be downtown again this evening and overnight to load and haul away snow piles and they will continue work in residential areas throughout the day.
Shoemaker said no alert was in place Monday night but crews will continue to work to remove huge piles of snow downtown.
The weather for the rest of the week is forecast to be dry and mild with highs for the next several days in the 40s.