It’s time to prepare for winter in Iowa City.

Now that the weather has changed, follow these tips from the City that will help you and your neighbors stay safe when the snow begins to fall.

Shoveling your sidewalks

Shoveling your walks helps to keep your neighborhood walkable and safe. Follow these tips to avoid potential fines and keep your walks clear for people of all abilities, whether pushing a stroller, or using assistive devices like wheelchairs:

  • Sidewalks should be cleared within 24 hours of a one-inch or greater snowfall.
  • Sidewalks should be cleared their entire width, down to the concrete. 
  • If you rent, check your lease to confirm if you do or don't have to clear your sidewalks
  • If leaving town during winter, make sure you find someone to shovel your sidewalks while gone.

Moving your car off the street

Many vehicles utilize street parking on a day-to-day basis in Iowa City. During snow events, street parking can severely slow down the snow-plowing process. Keep in mind, cars must be moved every 48 hours per City Code no matter the weather. If a snow emergency is called, know what your parking options are to avoid having your vehicle towed.

  • Move your vehicle off the street if you leave town for more than two days during winter. 
  • If a large snowstorm is coming, arrange to park off-street by asking friends, family, or neighbors for an off-street parking spot. Also, check into parking options at the City's parking ramps. 
  • Learn how to sign up for Snow Emergency alerts at

Preventing frozen pipes

If you're away for travel, keep your house properly warm to avoid frozen pipes.

  • Keep your house temperature to at least 55 degrees to ensure pipes do not freeze.
  • Close all windows, but keep doors open to rooms that have plumbing. 
  • Know where your water shutoff valve is. 

More general tips

  • Do not place garbage, recycling, organics carts on top of snow piles. Place them on flat, cleared surfaces. 
  • Help keep any nearby fire hydrants, curb cuts, or storm sewers clear of snow.
  • Keep in touch with the City for more winter tips throughout the season. Follow us on FacebookNextdoor, and Twitter, and subscribe to our emails at

Date of publication

Monday, November 14, 2022