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The Twin Cities got enough snow last week and may get another dusting this week,just enough to remind us that winter is coming.

To get residents prepared, Minneapolis this week will send out more than 196,000 Snow Emergency brochures - one to each household in the city - complete with graphics and text showing where and where not to park when the city declares a Snow Emergency. Each emergency comes in three phases, and the brochure spells out the rules for each of the three phases.

Last year, the city called three snow emergencies. During those events, the city ticketed 21,169 vehicles and towed 4,337 of those ticketed, city records show.

"By reaching out to educate people about Snow Emergency parking rules, the city hopes that more drivers will avoid tickets and tows," a city news release said.

Minneapolis calls snow emergencies after significant snowfall, generally 4 inches or more, McKenzie said. However, the decision on whether to call a Snow Emergency is made on a storm-by-storm basis, so parking restrictions could go into effect even with snow totals are ligher, she said.

Of course the brochure is only one of the ways the city notifies drivers of snow emergencies. Here are other places to find out when a Snow Emergency goes into effect.

  • Hotline: By calling the automated 612-348-SNOW hotline. If a Snow Emergency is in effect, the hotline will have information on that day’s parking restrictions that drivers need to follow to avoid tickets and tows. The hotline includes information in English, Spanish, Somali and Hmong.
  • The City’s website: Go to www.minneapolismn.gov/snow to find out whether a Snow Emergency has been declared. Also, check out the street lookup, which lets you put in an address or a neighborhood to see where you can park during a Snow Emergency.
  • Phone alerts: Minneapolis uses a phone alert system to notify residents when Snow Emergencies are declared. It is an automated notification system that can place thousands of calls per hour. To add your cellphone or unlisted landline number to the alert system by signing up at www.minneapolismn.gov/snow.
  • Email alerts: You can sign up to get Snow Emergency alerts automatically emailed to you. Go to www.minneapolismn.gov/snow/snow_esubscribe for more details.
  • App for Android devices and iPhones: Drivers who have Android devices or iPhones can download the Snow Emergency app. During a Snow Emergency, the app will tell them the parking rules for that day. It also has a street lookup, which lets them see where they can park on that day by street address or by having the device’s GPS pinpoint their location.
  • The news media: News releases are sent to the media so TV, radio stations and other news outlets can inform their viewers and listeners that a Snow Emergency is in effect.
  • Cable TV: Tune in to Minneapolis 14 (Comcast channels 14 and 799, CenturyLink channels 8001 and 8501). These channels will have information in several languages when a Snow Emergency is declared.
  • Facebook: Like Minneapolis Snow Emergency on Facebook. Go to www.facebook.com/MinneapolisSnowEmergency.
  • Twitter: twitter.com/minneapolissnow. If you have a Twitter account, just follow us. Both the Twitter and Facebook pages will tell fans and followers when a Snow Emergency is declared.
  • Videos: Informative videos in English, Spanish, Somali and Hmong are available online to help explain where you can park when a Snow Emergency is declared.