Know Your Snow in FoCo

old town fort collins covered in snow
Old Town FoCo – Google Images

If you’ve taken a look out your window today, you probably noticed the large amounts of snow that we have accumulated. Some parts of Fort Collins have even accumulated up to 9 inches of snow and it still continues to fall. While we may be used to receiving large amounts snow year after year, it is still important to keep a few things in mind with this storm.


Street Preparation

Fort Collins’ streets department began anti-icing efforts on major streets Tuesday afternoon to prevent snow from bonding to the streets. Pavement temperatures were low Tuesday morning, meaning “if it does snow, it’s gonna stick on the roadway,” streets superintendent Larry Schneider said.

The city of Fort Collins has 24 plows and their first priority are the highly trafficked streets like Prospect Road and College Avenue (arterial streets). The second priority are the streets that connect arterial streets, and the third is school streets and bus routes.

Residential streets are rarely plowed. In the last 10 years, the city has only plowed residential streets twice. The first was the 2006-07 season and last year when we received more than a foot of snow in the Fort Collins. Residential streets are only plowed by city workers when an emergency has been declared or when the snow blocks traffic movement.

If you would like to know the progress of plowing throughout the city, you can visit the city’s map on their website.

The Colorado Department of Transportation is in charge of plowing highways and has seven plows on hand for Fort Collins highways. The department started anti-icing efforts Tuesday on highly trafficked roads and known hazard areas, including Interstate 25 and Interstate 70. Anti-icing consists of applying liquid salt brine to pavement before a storm, preventing the snow from bonding to the road and necessitating less salt for plowing.

Speaking of street preparation, there are also certain drivers to be careful of when on the road. It is good to know which one you may be and which one to look out for. The Coloradoan has put together a list of the different drivers to look out for in Fort Collins.


School Closures

Poudre School District’s procedure is to make a decision to cancel or delay classes by 5:30 a.m. and then begin notifying parents and staff only if schools are delayed or closed. When making the decisions, officials consider road and weather conditions. Even though there’s no risk of a snow day on Saturday, you still double check events at local schools before making the ride there.

Even if PSD schools are closed, there is still a chance of local colleges staying open.

CSU’s Public Safety Team considers the same criteria as PSD, as well as local school district closures, city of Fort Collins and Larimer County office closures, the status of the city’s transit system and more. The campus can close completely, start late, close in the middle of the day or cancel evening classes and events. When overnight storms occur, the Public Safety Team holds a conference call by 5 a.m. the following day and aims to make its decision by 5:30 a.m. Students are notified through CSU’s official social media, news outlets and all-campus text alerts.

Front Range Community College uses similar criteria. According to FRCC’s website, classes are generally canceled when the state or city issues travel restrictions or the campus can’t keep up with snow removal. Closure and delay information is shared through alerts via text and email, the Front Range website, social media and through news outlets.


Homeless Shelters

Homeless shelters in Fort Collins increased their capacity to keep the homeless population safe this winter. Anyone needing shelter this winter season should check the Fort Collins Rescue Mission, 316 Jefferson St, or Catholic Charities, 460 Linden Center Drive. Fort Collins Rescue Mission serves men and women but not families and has space for another 20 men per night. Catholic Charities serves men, women and families and has permanently boosted available space for women and families this year.

If the shelters fill up, they will coordinate with other programs to find individuals and families emergency shelter. A limited number of motel vouchers are available for families and Safe Place to Rest, a new program, will use a network of organizations to host individuals as needed.


Keeping Pets Safe

The Larimer Humane Society has suggestions to keep your pets safe during snow and extremely cold weather. Spokeswoman Kaylene Weingardt does say the best thing to do is simply to bring them inside, though. The following will help to keep your pets safe and warm.

  • Check your pet’s paws: Make sure you’re checking to see if your pet is injured because snow and ice can crack and cut paws. Trimming extra fur between their toes can prevent ice balls from accumulating. Also, wiping their paws when they get inside can get rid of any harmful chemicals they might have tracked in.
  • Bang on the hood of your car: Some cats crawl under the hoods of cars with warm engines to stay warm. Before you start your engine, bang on the hood of the car and make noise.
  • Beware antifreeze: Even a small amount can kill your pet, so make sure to clean up any spills quickly.
  • Provide shelter: If you have to leave your pet outside for a long time, make sure they have shelter, and fresh, non-frozen water.


Keep Yourself and Home Safe

Cold weather safety tips from the American Red Cross range include:

  • Wear layers. Your hands, head and feet are the most important.
  • Running water, even at a trickle, can help to prevent your pipes from freezing, and opening kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors will let warm air circulate through the home.
  • Pick a setting for your thermostat and and keep the temperature consistent, day and night.
  • If you experience a power outage, don’t think about operating a generator inside, even in the basement or garage, and don’t hook it up to the home’s wiring.


Sources/Credits: The Coloradoan