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Record-breaking Monday snowstorm cost Des Moines $336,000 to clean up

Des Moines Register logo Des Moines Register 1/28/2021 Shelby Fleig, Des Moines Register
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Two-plus days of snow removal after Monday's record-breaking snowstorm has not come cheap.

The Des Moines Public Works Department has spent $335,927 to plow nearly a foot of snow — "easily" the most expensive clean-up effort of the season, according to a news release.

The 10.3 inches of snow that fell by the end of Monday set a new single-day record, according to the National Weather Service. It broke a 126-year-old mark for Jan. 25, previously set when 10 inches of snow fell that day in 1895.

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By noon Tuesday, the NWS said the Des Moines International Airport had 12.9 inches of snow, making it the 12th-highest two-day snow total in the city's history. It was the snowiest storm in Des Moines since a blizzard dropped 15.5 inches in December 2009.

a car covered in snow: Snow plows move down Grand Avenue as heavy snowfall begins in Des Moines on Monday, January 25, 2021. © Zach Boyden-Holmes Snow plows move down Grand Avenue as heavy snowfall begins in Des Moines on Monday, January 25, 2021.

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The record-breaking storm hasn't overly stressed the public works budget, however.

Adam Smith, the deputy public works director, said in a statement that frequency of storms generally matters more than their intensity.

"The snow has come in fewer, larger snowstorms," he said. "The cost isn't that much different between a four-inch storm and an eight or 10-inch storm, so it has worked better for our budget to have these larger storms as opposed to more frequent, smaller storms." 

So far, the city has used only about a third of its total 2020-2021 snow removal budget, he said.

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Shelby Fleig covers Des Moines city government for the Register. Reach her at shelbyfleig@dmreg.com or 515-214-8933.

This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Record-breaking Monday snowstorm cost Des Moines $336,000 to clean up

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