Snow Operations

Snow emergencies are determined by the Director of Public Works. This also depends on the predicted weather immediately following the storm. In the event that a Snow Emergency is declared:

  1. The blue lights installed at strategic locations will be activated.
  2. A recorded reverse 911 message will be placed to all residents. You may sign up online for this service via our Resident Alert System.
  3. A message will be placed on the city’s website, its social media platforms, and Cable Channel 15.
Snow Information: 

Space Savers 
Parking space savers should be removed after 48 hours, or they may be removed for you.  

Resident’s Guide to Snow Operations 
Learn about the City operations and resident requirements in snow removal.

Winter Parking Regulations
Learn where parking is banned during a declared Snow Emergency.

Snow Plowing Operations 
Learn about the City operations in response to snow.  

Sand Barrel Locations (PDF) 
Find out where the sand barrels are in the City from this list.  

Snow Ordinances (PDF) 
Learn your responsibilities as a property owner when it comes to snow and ice removal.

Snow Information:

Space Savers
You may only place something in the parking spot after a snowstorm has ended.

  1. If you remove your vehicle from a snow-covered parking spot without shoveling it first, then you cannot reserve the space. 
  2. Be respectful when clearing your space. Shovel the front and back neatly out and do not dump the snow in another space.
  3. Do not save parking spaces for more than two days (48 hours) after a storm. Parking space savers should be removed after 48 hours, or they may be removed for you.
Resident's Guide to Snow Operations
When snow falls, it is imperative that streets and sidewalks get cleared as quickly and efficiently as possible to ensure transportation safety as well as to restore curbside parking convenience. City plowing and snow removal will always be impacted by such unavoidable impediments as equipment failures and breakdowns, equipment maintenance and refueling, necessary crew breaks, vehicles disabled in deep snow, and the unpredictable severity of New England’s winter storms. Residents need to “pitch in” to help with cleanup operations.

This guide will help explain City operations and resident requirements.


While plow drivers try to minimize the amount of snow that gets plowed into driveways, clearing driveway openings is the responsibility of the property owner. Plows cannot be lifted as they pass by driveways.
Residents should realize that snow may be plowed into driveways several times during snow plowing operations. Residents may wish to clear driveways several times during the storm or wait until plowing activities have concluded. Shoveling snow into the street is prohibited by City Ordinance.


Snow or ice makes walking difficult for school children, mail carriers and elders. It's important as property owners or residents to help clear openings at corners and crosswalks so pedestrians can cross safely.

Property owners or tenants are required by City Ordinance to remove snow and ice from abutting sidewalks within 24 hours from the end of the snowfall and should clear all sidewalks and footways at a safe and comfortable width of at least 24 inches.


You should avoid driving in winter snowstorms. In every winter storm, there are times when road conditions are hazardous despite everyone’s best efforts. The Department’s work to restore safe road conditions is completed more quickly and efficiently when roads are free of traffic and illegally parked cars.
Snow Plowing Operations
The following is a general description of Chelsea’s Snow Fighting Plan:

Step 1

When snowfall begins, the Public Works Department responds by salting the main roads.

Step 2

Plowing begins when there is an accumulation of approximately three inches of snow. The Department’s policy is to plow the full width of the street, curb to curb, during each storm.

Step 3

Once snowfall has stopped, salt trucks begin post-storm salting. Main streets are salted to achieve bare pavement and residential streets are salted if slippery conditions exist. Plows also widen streets not plowed from curb to curb. City parking lots are also cleared.