Crews tackle problems with melting snow - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Crews tackle problems with melting snow

WATERLOO (KWWL) --  Warmer temperatures are a relief to many during Iowa winters.  But all the melting snow could cause a potentially dangerous situation.

Temperatures are expected to dip below freezing New Year's Eve, causing all the wet surfaces to freeze.

In Waterloo, a number of intersections are flooded because storm drains and catch basins are covered with snow.  The water has no place to go, but city crews are working to solve that.

The responsibility falls on Waterloo's Waste Management Superintendent Larry Smith.

"We maintain the storm sewers for the city of Waterloo, which includes the catch basins. We get a lot of help with the street department when we need it. Their guys are good at plowing them open and we go along and break them open after that."

"Primarily what happens is we start getting ponding on the streets. The catch basins aren't draining so we have to go out and work the snow back away from the catch basin. A lot of them we salt because they're frozen."

The city of Waterloo has 7,000 catch basins and a number of them are still full.  If you have a little extra time and a shovel and feel like cleaning it, feel free.

Smith says, "We know most of the problem areas. We hit them first and we work from there out to all the areas. We take incoming phone calls from residents. If they see a problem on their street or they're driving on one of the other streets and there's a problem they call in and we go out and open it up."

Along with city roads, Iowa DOT officials are already warning people about the possible dangers on the highways and interstates, asking people to drive cautiously as the wet roads begin to freeze.

If you've lived through an Iowa winter you're familiar with ice dams.
They can cause all kinds of problems to your house.

It's a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of the roof and prevents melting snow from draining off the roof.

The water backing up behind the dam can leak into a home and cause severe damage.

Whatever you do, don't get on the roof to fix it - that's dangerous.
Avoid chipping away at the ice... That can lead to an injury and cause damage to your roof.
Be sure to seal air leaks in your attic - warm air leaks are where they problem starts.
Also, provide adequate ventilation in your attic.  That allows the underside of the roof and the outside air to be at the same temperature.

Just so you know, with all this melting, river levels around the area are well below flood stage.
Combine that with the fact that this thaw will be short lived -- there's really no threat for river flooding.


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