[Updated: From orange to yellow] Monroe County after-storm notebook: Travel status goes from red down to orange; Bloomington property owners must clear sidewalks

The winter storm that closed down Bloomington and Monroe County government offices on Thursday and Friday left around 5 inches of snow on top of a layer of frozen crud that began falling late on Wednesday.

The National Weather Service snowfall map  put Bloomington in the 4-to-6-inch band of snowfall for the storm period. The NWS station-by-station  report pegged the amount for Bloomington at 5.5 inches.

The NWS forecast for Bloomington calls for a high of 23 F degrees on Saturday with no additional snowfall. For Sunday, it’s supposed to remain clear with a forecasted high temperature of 37 F.

As of 4:01 p.m on Friday, the travel warning (red level) for Monroe County had been adjusted down to a watch (orange level). [Updated 5:57 p.m. on Feb. 5. The travel status for Monroe County has been adjusted down just an advisory (yellow level), which means routine travel or activities may be restricted in areas because of a hazardous situation, and individuals should use caution or avoid those areas.]

A travel watch still means that “conditions are threatening to the safety of the public.” According to the definition of a travel watch, only essential travel, such as to and from work or in emergency situations, is recommended. And emergency action plans should be implemented by businesses, schools, government agencies, and other organizations.

The state of Indiana maintains a county-by-county map showing travel advisory status.

For people who need a COVID-19 test, the Gravity Diagnostics site at at 301 North Curry Pike is supposed to be open on Saturday, Feb. 5 for its normal hours of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., according to Gravity’s website. According to Gravity, test results are supposed to be available the next day by midnight.

Under Bloomington local law, it’s the owners of property next to a public sidewalk who are responsible for clearing snow and ice from those walkways. And it has to be done within 24 hours after snow has stopped accumulating.

It’s the Housing and Neighborhood Development (HAND) department that enforces the local code on sidewalk snow removal.

What time does the city of Bloomington consider the stopping point for snow accumulation from this storm, for purposes of imposing fines on property owners?

HAND director John Zody responded to an emailed question from The B Square indicating “this morning”—that is, Friday morning. Under the city code that would give residents until Saturday morning to get sidewalks cleared.

Zody wrote, “We encourage property owners to clear their sidewalks for pedestrians as soon as they can.” Zody added, “HAND will begin enforcement on Monday morning.”