Snow & Winter Storm Information
Before, during, and after a winter storm event, the Department of Public Works has a number of protocols that they follow. The protocols may change depending on the size and type of the event. The following information should be used as a guide to help understand what the Department of Public Works is doing during storm events and also to help residents and property owners understand their responsibilities as well:
Before the Storm
Before a storm event the Highway Department Foreman meets with DPW administration to discuss the possible needs based on the size of the storm. DPW then meets with the Town Manager's Office, Police Department, and other departments to discuss operations. Staff also join MEMA/FEMA calls to get additional information and directions for weather events, when necessary. In addition, DPW begins to:
- Prepare vehicles with both plows and sand/salt.
- Arrange extra employees from other departments to help with the plowing efforts.
- Make arrangements with staff to prepare the shelter.
- Arrange for staff to cover the shelter.
- Help make the decision on when the parking ban will go into effect and for how long.
- Help decide if Town Offices should close for said event.
- Buildings and Grounds Departments remove all Town owned barrels from Commercial Street as well as check and secure all Town owned buildings.
- Check fuel levels for both heating fuel and generator fuel at Town buildings.
During the Storm
DPW crews will start with sanding/salting operations as soon as necessary during a snow event. Once they need to plow, each staff member has a designated route that they follow and they will continue plowing until the storm is over. Crews maintain the main roads first as well as the Police, Fire and Shelter parking areas. Private Roads that do get plowed by the Town may get plowed, but they are not am immediate priority. Other important information residents should know includes:
- During a storm event, DPW as well as the Emergency Management Team may open and operate the Shelter.
- If you need to utilize the Shelter you can call the Provincetown Police Department and they will shuttle you to the Shelter at the VMCC on Winslow Street.
- This is also available to Truro Residents via the Truro Police Department.
- During the height of any storm, small or large, you should remain at home as to allow the plows to do their work. If you are a nonessential person do not report to work.
- Keep your car off the road and not parked in the parking ban area until the parking ban is lifted (usually within 24 to 48 hours after an event).
- Residents can park in any of the Town's municipal parking lots at Grace Hall, the MacMillan Pier Lot, etc.
- All snow plowing areas are posted during the winter months with signs displaying the wording, “Emergence Snow Route," "Tow Away Zone," or "No Parking in the Event of Snowfall.” The following streets are designated as such:
- Alden Street Montello Street (upper & lower)
- Atlantic Avenue Nickerson Street (upper and lower)
- Brewster Street Pearl Street (upper and lower)
- Center Street Pleasant Street
- Commercial Street Priscilla Alden Road
- Conant Street (upper & lower) Prince Street
- Cottage Street (upper) Ryder Street
- Cudworth Street Standish Street (upper and lower)
- Johnson Street
- Miller Hill Road
- Remember that the plow drivers are doing their best and make every effort not to pile snow in private driveways or walkways but the wind row or snow row will block your driveway or walkway.
- This is the private property owner's responsibility to shovel or plow. You should not attempt to do this work until after the storm is over and if possible after all plowing operations are compete or you may have to do the procedure more than once.
- When you do this cleanup, please do not shovel the snow into the street. This has created dangerous situations for motorist as well as creates additional work for DPW staff.
After the Storm
If it is a significant enough storm, the Town may call in outside contractors with very large equipment to assist with cleanup. They will remove the snow from the streets and take to snow farms around Town. Crews will also start digging out the drains around town to prevent flooding. Additionally:
- DPW operations - including trash pickup and transfer station operations - will return to normal as soon as possible while also remaining in snow clean up mode.
- Please make every effort to stay home and off roads until snow plow operators have had sufficient time to properly clean the roads.
- Start cleanup and evaluation of your property.
- Check for damage and report anything like power lines, etc. directly to Eversource.
- The Water Department will start to clean out fire hydrants at this time, but if you have one on or near your property, please help clear it.
- Hydrants in private development or on private roads that do not get plowed should be cleaned by the residents.
- Any other concerns should be directed to the DPW and we will do our best to take care of these issues as soon as time allows.
We hope the above helps you better understand what goes on during a storm event and how residents can help.
Winter Weather Preparedness Tips
Winter in Provincetown can bring about challenging weather conditions, including snowstorms, freezing temperatures, and coastal storms. To ensure the safety and well-being of yourself, your loved ones, and your property it's crucial to be prepared for the winter season. The following provides valuable information and tips to help you prepare:
- Monitor local weather forecasts regularly to stay updated on approaching storms and changing conditions.
- Sign up for emergency alerts from the Town via text message, email, or phone call at https://alerts.provincetown-ma.gov/. Please encourage your friends, neighbors, and others to subscribe as well.
- Check the Town’s website and Facebook page for updates.
Build a Kit to Support You/Your Family with supplies for 3-5 days. The kit should include:
- Bottled water and food that doesn’t need to be refrigerated.
- Flashlights, a radio, and extra batteries.
- Phone chargers.
- First aid kit with medications.
- Special medical equipment, if needed.
- Personal care items.
- Blankets and warm clothing
- Keeping your devices fully charged.
- Storing flashlights and batteries in an easily accessible location.
- Having extra batteries, medicine, blankets, canned goods, and bottled water on hand.
- Keeping refrigerators closed as much as possible and setting the temperature at 45° or below. Food will stay fresh for between 36-48 hours in a full fridge; 24 hours in a half-filled one.
- Insulate your home to conserve heat and reduce energy costs.
- Check and maintain your heating system before winter begins.
- Ensure that windows and doors are properly sealed to prevent drafts.
- Keep a supply of rock salt or ice melt to make walkways safer.
- Equip your vehicle with snow tires and ensure they are properly inflated.
- Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid fuel line freeze.
- Pack a winter car emergency kit, including a blanket, snacks, a flashlight, and a shovel.
Have an Evacuation Plan:
- Familiarize yourself with local evacuation routes in case of severe weather events.
- Have a plan in place for relocating to a safe location if necessary.
- Communicate the plan with family members and neighbors.
- Bring pets indoors during extreme cold weather.
- Ensure your pets have access to fresh water, as it may freeze in colder temperatures.
- Prepare a comfortable and warm space for your pets inside your home.
- Dress in layers to stay warm and protect against the cold.
- Avoid prolonged exposure to extreme cold temperatures, especially if wind chill is a factor.
- Hypothermia can occur in extreme cases. The warning signs are uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion. If the person’s temperature drops below 95 degrees, seek immediate medical care.
Know Your Important Contacts:
- For the PROVINCETOWN FIRE DEPARTMENT non-emergency line: 508-487-7023
- For the PROVINCETOWN DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS: 508-487-7074 or email email@example.com
- For power outages, contact EVERSOURCE directly: 1-800-592-2000 or online at https://www.eversource.com/content/residential/outages
- For VERIZON service issues: 1-800-837-4966
- For COMCAST service issues: 1-800-266-2278
When severe weather is in the forecast, the Town will share important information by sending out alerts to subscribers, posting information on the Town’s website, social media, and more.