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Weather update: Winter storm causes trash delays; Pottawattamie County, Council Bluffs under snow emergency
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Weather update: Winter storm causes trash delays; Pottawattamie County, Council Bluffs under snow emergency

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A winter storm warning is in effect until 6 a.m. Wednesday for the Council Bluffs-Omaha area, said Katie Gross, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Valley, Nebraska. Pottawattamie and Shelby Counties in Iowa are included in the warning.

The City of Council Bluffs also declared a snow emergency parking ban will go into effect at noon today and will remain in effect until noon Wednesday. The emergency parking ban applies to all streets posted as snow emergency routes by the City of Council Bluffs. A list of emergency snow routes can be found at councilbluffs-ia.gov/2425/snow-removal-information

Under an emergency parking ban declaration, cars parked on designated routes are subject to a fine and/or towing at the owner’s expense.

Please contact City of Council Bluffs Public Works Operations at 712-328-4641 for further information.

Pottawattamie County has declared a 24-hour snow emergency, beginning at noon today and ending at noon on Wednesday. Vehicles cannot be parked on or along any public roadway during snow removal operations, the county engineer's office announced at 9:30 a.m.

Other county jurisdictions with snow emergencies in place include:

Carson — From noon today until noon Wednesday

Carter Lake — From 9 a.m. Monday until 9 p.m. Wednesday

Neola — From noon today until 6 a.m. Wednesday

Oakland — From noon today until noon Wednesday

Treynor — From 11 a.m. today until 11 a.m. Wednesday

Underwood — From 11:30 a.m. today until 1 p.m. Wednesday.

Closed due to weather conditions:

  • Lewis Central Lucky Children
  • Sheryl K. Johnson Child Care Center at St. Albert
  • The Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum in Ashland, Nebraska.

Snow will continue today, potentially mixing with sleet this afternoon along and just north of Interstate 80. To the south of Interstate 80, the snow will mix with or change over to sleet or freezing rain this afternoon.

Interstate 29 north between Crescent and Sioux City is partially covered in snow, and completely covered in snow between Council Bluffs and Crescent, the Iowa Department of Transportation reported at 9 a.m.

Interstate 29 south from Council Bluffs to the Missouri border is also completely snow-covered.

Interstate 80 east is completely covered in snow from Council Bluffs to Underwood, and partially covered in snow from Underwood to Des Moines, the IDOT reported.

Peak snow intensities are expected from mid-morning into late afternoon, making the afternoon or evening commute difficult. The wintry precipitation is expected to diminish by late evening into the overnight hours.

Total snow accumulations will range from four to seven inches.

Council Bluffs Public Works issued some reminders for Council Bluffs residents:

• Public works plows and graders will remain on emergency routes until the snow subsides. Once emergency routes remain clear, crews will move into residential areas.

• If it is necessary to park on the street, please be aware of where you are parking to allow room for large snow equipment and emergency vehicles. If possible, find off-street parking.

• During plow operations, a windrow of snow will be deposited at the end of driveways and some additional snow will end up on sidewalks. It is the responsibility of the property owner/resident to remove this snow.

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• Public works does not plow alleys.

• Any parking bans will be announced through local media, including Facebook.

Due to road conditions, trash and recycling collection has been halted today for Council Bluffs residents on city waste services, public works announced this morning.

Trash and recycling collection will resume Wednesday and be one day behind the remainder of the week with Thursday’s collection on New Year’s Day and Friday's collection on Saturday. Trash limits still apply.

Public works asked residents to be patient with waste haulers as they overcome difficult weather conditions. Placing trash and recycling on top of snow drifts is unacceptable and may lead to uncollected waste. Clean a place free of snow and ice within 5 feet of the traveled roadway with a path wide enough to accommodate collection.

For more information, contact the Council Bluffs Recycling Center at 712-890-5454.

Shoveling snow can increase a person’s risk for injury, and some may be surprised to learn just how frequently such injuries happen. Sprains and strains in the back and shoulders are the most common injuries when shoveling snow. But people also can suffer lacerations and injuries related to below-freezing temperatures when shoveling snow. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends people keep these safety precautions in mind when shoveling snow this winter.

• Stretch before shoveling. Just like you would do before exercising in a gym, stretch prior to picking up your snow shovel. Warm up your muscles with some light exercise for 10 minutes to reduce your risk of sprains, strains and muscle tears.

• Stay hydrated and take frequent breaks. The AAOS notes that snow shoveling and snow blowing are aerobic activities. Such activities require participants to be hydrated. In addition, taking frequent breaks can help prevent injuries.

• Avoid shoveling snow if you’re at risk for heart attack. Some people should avoid shoveling snow entirely. According to the Harvard Medical School, researchers correlated hospital admissions and deaths due to heart attack the day after it snowed in Canada between 1981 and 2014. Researchers found that the deeper the snow, the more men died of heart attacks. In fact, researchers found that there was a 34 percent increase in heart attack deaths the day after an eight-inch snowfall, and those rates increased when snowfall increased. Most deaths were men, but both men and women who are at risk of heart attack should avoid shoveling snow, particularly after heavy snowfall. Adults who are unsure of their heart health should consult with their physicians prior to shoveling snow.

• Use the right equipment. Ergonomic snow shovels can make shoveling less taxing, reducing your risk for sprains and strains. Spacing hands on the tool grip can increase leverage, making shoveling easier and less likely to lead to injury.

• Pushing snow instead of lifting it. The AAOS recommends pushing rather than lifting snow when possible. If snow must be lifted, squat with your legs, knees bent and back straight. When lifting, lift with your legs and do not bend at the waist. Scoop small amounts of snow at a time and walk to where you want to dump. The AAOS warns against holding shovels full of snow with arms outstretched, as doing so puts too much weight on the spine. Snow should not be thrown over the shoulder, as such a technique requires a twisting motion that puts stress on the back. In addition, the AAOS notes that heavy wet snow should be removed in pieces and not all at once.

The forecast, according to the weather service:

Today: Snow before 5 p.m., then more snow, possibly mixed with freezing rain. The snow could be heavy at times. High near 30. Southeast wind 10 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 24 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. Little or no ice accumulation expected. New snow accumulation of 3 to 7 inches possible.

Tonight: Snow and freezing rain likely, becoming all freezing rain after 11 p.m., then gradually ending. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 21. Southeast wind 5 to 10 mph becoming light and variable. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

Wednesday: Partly sunny, with a high near 27. North northwest wind 9 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.

Wednesday night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 4.

Thursday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 20.

Thursday night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 8.

New Year’s Day: A slight chance of snow before noon. Partly sunny, with a high near 23.

Friday night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 10.

Saturday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 29.

Saturday night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 16.

Sunday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 36.

— This report contains information from Metro Creative Connection. Omaha World-Herald reporter Kevin Cole also contributed.

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