Snowstorm Updates and Tips for Denver Residents

Published on March 12, 2021

Denver – City and County of Denver agencies are providing residents the following snow-related city updates and information for travel, tree care, disposal of downed trees/broken branches, stuck or abandoned vehicles, and sidewalk snow removal. 

Bear Valley Library Vaccination Site Closed on March 14 

Due to anticipated snow conditions over the weekend, the Bear Valley Library community vaccination site will be closed on Sunday, March 14, 2021. Community site partners have contacted all those registered for vaccine appointments on March 14. These vaccine appointments were automatically rescheduled to March 21, and individuals have the option to select another appointment date if necessary. 

Denver City Government Early Closure on Friday, March 12 due to Inclement Weather

City and County of Denver government agencies will be closing at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, March 12, 2021 due to inclement weather. City services staffed by city employees working remotely due to COVID-19 will maintain regular business hours. All 24-hour city services will maintain regular operating schedules. This includes snow response, traffic operations, trash/recycling, and public safety and emergency responder operations. Contact the Denver District Courts, Denver County Courts and Denver Public Library for additional information on their operations schedule. Denver International Airport is open. Passengers are encouraged to check their flight status before leaving for the airport with their airline or on www.flydenver.com.

Extra Emergency Sheltering Planned Due to Snowstorm for People Experiencing Homelessness 

The city and shelter partners are planning additional shelter options this weekend for people experiencing homelessness. A standby shelter for men and transgender individuals is planned for possible operation at the St. Charles Recreation Center, beginning Friday, March 12 at 7 p.m. through Wednesday, March 17 at 10 a.m. Men/transgender individuals seeking shelter should go to the Lawrence Street Community Center, where day shelter and meals are available. Transportation is provided daily from the Lawrence Street Community Center to Denver’s network of overnight shelters. The city and shelter partners are closely monitoring bed availability for women/transgender individuals across the shelter network. Preparations are being made to accommodate guests to motel rooms as well. Women and transgender individuals can access emergency shelter at 1370 Elati St. For more details, visit denvergov.org/emergencyshelter.

Travel 

With the potential for significant snowfall, please don’t drive if you don’t have to, giving the plows plenty of space to operate. If you have to drive: 

  • Please drive slowly and give yourself plenty of stopping distance and extra reaction time. 
  • Use extreme caution when approaching all intersections. Wet and sideways-blowing snow can stick to, and obscure, traffic signals and signs.
  • Treat dark or flashing red traffic signals as four-way stops. 
  • Ensure your windows and mirrors are clear of snow and that you have windshield wiper fluid before you start your trip. 

Snow on Trees: Remove with Caution! 

Wet heavy snow can weigh down tree branches and cause them to break. Check to make sure the tree is safe and clear of all utility lines prior to removing snow; DO NOT attempt to shake snow off a tree if a utility line is going through its branches or is within contact distance.  If the tree is clear of utility lines, use a broom to remove as much snow as possible from branches by brushing off or gently shaking. Avoid large, rapid movement as this could cause the limb to break.  DO NOT attempt to climb tree or use ladder to reach higher limbs. 

Downed Branches 

  • If emergency removal of a fallen tree or tree branch is needed to clear a street, call 311 to report the specific address of the location. The city will evaluate and prioritize the removal of the obstruction, and when necessary, the city will remove the encumbrance, and the cost of the work will be billed to the responsible property owner. 
  • Property owners are responsible for pruning and cleaning up debris from trees located on private property and within the public right of way adjacent to their property. DO NOT relocate branches to parkways or other public areas.
  • Residents can visit www.denvergov.org/forestry for a list of licensed and insured tree care contractors.

Disposal of Tree Branches 

  • Denver’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure collects a limited amount of branches as part of its regular extra trash collection service to residents.
  • Branches must be no larger than 4 inches in diameter, and they must be cut into lengths of 4 feet or less, bundled and tied, and weigh no more than 50 pounds. 
  • Customers may set out up to 10 bundles of branches on their scheduled every-8-week extra trash collection. 
  • Denver residents can also drop off branches at the Cherry Creek Recycling Drop-off center located near East Cherry Creek Drive South and South Quebec Street. Hours of operation can be found on the city’s website at www.denvergov.org/recycling

Downed Power Lines/Cables 

  • Stay clear of downed lines and report them immediately to Xcel Energy at 1-800-895-1999. If a power line is in contact with any object, stay away and call 911 immediately. 
  • Anyone who witnesses an emergency that requires an immediate response should always call 911. 

Stuck/Abandoned Vehicles: We Can Help

  • When vehicles are stuck and/or abandoned in lanes of traffic, especially on main roads and highways, the Denver Police Department will work to have the vehicles short-towed from the roadway to a nearby location or parking lot. Drivers who have been short-towed can call 720-913-2000 to learn the location of their vehicle. 
  • Motorists are also encouraged to proactively contact private tow companies to have their stuck vehicles removed from roadways. 

Sidewalk Snow 

To help keep our city’s walks safe and accessible, Denver residents and businesses are responsible for clearing snow and ice from public sidewalks adjacent to their properties. Note: RTD only shovels bus stops that have a shelter. If there is a bus stop with a sign and no shelter, the resident or business is responsible for this sidewalk. Please do not shovel snow into a street or bike lane. 

Commercial Properties (including multi-family residential) 

Sidewalks adjacent to commercial properties (businesses and multi-family residential buildings) must be cleared within four hours, after snow has stopped falling. This includes adjacent ADA ramps and applicable bus stops. 

Residential Properties (single-family homes and duplexes) 

Sidewalks adjacent to residential properties must be cleared within 24 hours, after the snow has stopped falling. This includes adjacent ADA ramps and applicable bus stops. 

Inspectors begin enforcement after snow has stopped falling. Anyone wishing to report an unshoveled sidewalk may do so via 3-1-1 or www.pocketgov.com

Help a Neighbor

Residents are encouraged to help one another, especially neighbors who may not be able to shovel snow because of health issues. Seniors and others who need regular assistance can get help through the Snow Angel program. If you need help with shoveling, or would like to volunteer to help neighbors, visit www.denvergov.org/SnowAngels.

Injury Prevention: Shoveling 

Use care when shoveling. If you’re not in good physical condition, you don’t exercise regularly, or have heart disease or a personal history of stroke, you are at a higher risk for injury. 

  • Pace Yourself: Take frequent breaks and prevent dehydration by drinking plenty of fluids.
  • Try to push the snow instead of lifting it.
  • If you must lift, do it properly. Squat with your legs apart, knees bent, and back straight. Lift with your legs. Avoid bending at the waist. Scoop small amounts of snow into the shovel and walk to where you want to dump it.
  • Do not throw the snow over your shoulder or to the side. This requires a twisting motion that stresses your back. 
  • If you experience chest pain, shortness of breath, or other signs of a heart attack, stop the activity and seek emergency care by calling 911.  Include Pets in Winter Storm Preparation Plans

Denver Animal Protection offered these tips to safeguard animals from the elements. 

Don’t leave your pets outside. If the weather is too bad for you and your family, it’s also not safe for your pets.

  • If you must leave your animal outside for extended periods, Denver city ordinance requires pets have adequate outdoor shelter such as a doghouse or a similar structure that allows the animal to escape the weather. Failing to protect your pet during inclement weather can lead to a Cruelty to Animals or Animal Neglect charge, up to a $999 fine and/or a year in jail for the owner. Find out more
  • In case your pet escapes, make sure it’s wearing tags and collars with up-to-date contact information.
  • Stock up on pet food and medicines in advance of the storm.