Cleanup underway after monster weekend blizzard

Schools, government offices shuttered, emergency declaration extended

The city of Shawano has extended its snow emergency declaration until 7 a.m. Wednesday as the community and the rest of Shawano County continues digging its way out of a spring blizzard and nearly three feet of snow dropped over the weekend.

There were reports of 33 inches of snow in Shawano and at least 30 inches of snow in Tigerton.

Even with the snow beginning to taper off Monday morning, the amount dumped in the preceding 48 hours was more than enough to shutter schools and close most government offices Monday except for emergency or essential personnel.

Shawano initially expected its snow emergency, during which vehicles were prohibited from parking on city streets, to expire at 6 a.m. Monday.

Under the extended declaration, no vehicles will be allowed to park on any city street between the hours of 9 p.m. and 7 a.m.

“This will allow our public works employees an opportunity to remove snow safely and efficiently from key areas of the city,” the Shawano Police Department said. “Vehicles parked on city streets during those hours may be ticketed and/or towed at the owner’s expense.”

County roads were reported to be impassable Saturday morning and a countywide tow ban was announced.

“All vehicles will be left in the ditch and you will be taken to a gas station to wait out the storm. Vehicles will only be towed if it’s a traffic hazard,” the Shawano County Sheriff’s Department said.

Things have improved somewhat since then.

The Shawano County Highway Department reported early Monday that all state highways and county roads in Shawano County are now passable, as well as 40 percent of town roads maintained by the county.

Some of those roads are maintained by the townships or their contractors.

Shawano County deputies logged dozens of minor accidents and disabled vehicles over the weekend due to the storm.

Shawano police also had a large number of disabled vehicles stuck in the snow — including a squad car in one incident — and at least two reports of carbon monoxide detectors being set off at homes where snow was blocking the furnace pipe.

Shawano Department of Public Works crews had pretty much plowed all city streets by Monday morning and were working their way through the alleys, according to Public Works Coordinator Eddie Sheppard.

Clearing the snow will present challenges of its own, however, given the weight and the amount crews will have to deal with.

ThedaCare has given the city permission to use a parking lot at the former Shawano Medical Center property to store snow to supplement the city’s other locations.

The SMC parking lot also has the advantage of being on asphalt, with drainage. The city’s usual storage locations are on grass, with ground still frozen; a situation that could become, Sheppard said, “a mess.”