What to expect and what to do when a snow emergency is declared

Every year around December through at least March, the city of Riverview notifies its residents that a Snow Emergency is in effect, to move the cars off the street so DPW can plow the street curb to curb.  When cars have not been removed the police will ticket the registered owner and tow the vehicle to impound.

According to the city  ordinance, a Snow Emergency exists  “whenever there is an accumulation of snow and/or ice upon the streets of this city in an amount of five inches or more or when, in the opinion of the city manager or his designee, the accumulation or conditions constitutes a danger to the public or interferes with the free flow of traffic or interferes with the public safety units operations, the city manager or his designee, may declare that a snow emergency exists”

What does the city do to notify it’s residents?

The public shall be notified of a snow emergency by the announcement of the emergency on the cable television, public access channel and by posting a placard upon public works vehicles stating that a snow emergency is in effect.

The city manager or his designees shall cause appropriate notice of the snow emergency ordinance to be posted at all entrances of the city and at other locations within the city as determined by him or his designee to appraise the ordinarily observant person that the ordinance is in effect.

How do we know the Snow Emergency has ended?

The public shall be notified of the removal of the snow emergency by an announcement on the cable television, public access channel; the city shall provide a snow emergency hotline to provide access to such declared emergency and by posting a placard upon public works vehicles stating the termination of the snow emergency, or by sending a CODE RED message to residents declaring the end of the emergency.

What are other ways the city announces to the public or its residents?

The police department sends a message using the “CODE RED” reverse 911 system.  This communication method combines two-way messaging, social media, email, and TDD to send mass communications at once.  While the mass communication is being sent, the sender receives real-time data reporting to monitor the number of calls received or message sent via text message or email to those who have signed up.

How do residents sign up for the CODE RED service?

Simple, when visiting the clerk’s office, there are forms to complete which will be forwarded to the police department for entry or by visiting the city’s website main page.

What are the obligations of the public or the city’s residents?

  1. It is the responsibility of the public to take notice when such is announced or posted. The public is presumed to have notice when the aforementioned provisions are accomplished and/or the National Weather Service gives notice via public communications systems of an impending snowfall or ice storm.
  2. After one hour following the declaration of a snow emergency, it shall be unlawful for any owner, operator, or person having control of a motor vehicle to park or remain parked upon a public street until the snow emergency has been canceled.

What if I don’t move my car, what happens then?

A vehicle parked, disabled or abandoned on a public street is a violation of this division, except as provided in this division, may be cited for a violation of this division and the vehicle impounded by the police department. The expense of impoundment shall be borne by the owner of the vehicle.

What are the penalties for not removing my car during a snow emergency?

 All vehicles found to be in violation of this division shall be ticketed. After a ticket has been issued and regardless of notice to the owner, the vehicle may be removed from the street at the owner’s expense. 

Such expense shall include all towing and storage charges reasonably incurred by the police department in obtaining the removal of such vehicle. A failure to obey the provisions of this division shall render the violator liable to penalty as provided in the traffic code. Violation shall constitute a civil infraction for which the fine shall be $75.00

Can I throw my snow from the driveway or sidewalk into the street while I’m trying to clean my driveway out to park my car because of the snow emergency?

No. The occupant of any premises, or the owner of any unoccupied premises, is required to keep the sidewalks in front of, or adjacent to such premises cleared, so far as is practicable and reasonable, from snow and ice to facilitate pedestrian use. 

Where there are no sidewalks, the occupant or owner as aforementioned, is required to clear a path free from snow and ice where a sidewalk would otherwise be, to facilitate pedestrian use. Whenever any snow or ice has fallen or accumulated it shall be cleared within 24 hours after it has fallen or accumulated. 

If the owner or occupant fails to comply with this requirement, the city may remove snow or ice and charge the cost against the abutting property. The penalty for this is a civil fine of $50

Furthermore, It shall be unlawful for any person to shovel, push, blow, move or otherwise project snow into any street within the city.

Not only does this cause further work for DPW plow trucks, but it also pushes the snow you’ve just cleared into your neighbor’s easement and driveway approach. Also, there may be debris hiding in the snow which was just freshly shoveled or blown into the street, and DPW Plow trucks don’t stop to check out the pile you’ve just put in the road.  

They have a job to do. They are going to push that pile somewhere and if it has debris that could cause damage, most likely it will, to you or your neighbor.  Please do not shovel or throw your snow into the street!

What if I’m on vacation and the city declares an emergency?

  • Pay attention to the weather forecasts before you leave and look at the future forecasts.  It’s Michigan, where the weather is likely to change at the blink of an eye.
  • Move your car into the driveway before you leave.
  • Give an extra set of keys to your neighbor who you trust to move the car
  • Have a plan in case the weather changes.

Where can I get my information from in case there is an active snow emergency activation?

The local television stations will be notified:

  • Fox 2 (fox2detroit.com)
  • WXYZ (Channel 7 Action News) (wxyz.com)
  • WDIV (Local 4 News0 (clickondetroit.com)

Radio Stations:

  • WWJ AM 950
  • WJR AM 760

Where can I get the up to date weather forecasts for our area?

  • National Weather Service (weather.gov/dtx)
  • Local television channels have weather updated on their web sites.
  • NOAA Weather Widget https://www.noaa.gov/noaa-homepage-weather-widget

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