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Failure to remove snow can lead to $200 minimum fine

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette Eric Fischer shoves the sidewalk in front of his house on Union Ave. as his wife Beth supervises Saturday.

While it’s not been a snowy winter thus far — and likely will not become any snowier this week — city officials are warning residents and businesses that not removing snow from sidewalks in a certain time period can land them with a $200 fine.

“The ordinance allows for 24 hours after the snow stops,” said Joseph Gerardi, city codes administrator addressing City Council on Thursday night.

The fire hydrants also must be exposed so the firefighters can quickly access and open them in event of a fire, he said.

Four codes officers have been assigned different sections of the city to go out and make sure the sidewalks are clear and hydrants exposed, he said.

Residents can report violations anonymously by stopping in the office, telephoning or sending an email, Gerardi said. The telephone is 570-327-7517 and contact is radams@cityofwilliamsport.org, he said.

Councilman Adam Yoder asked Gerardi about a situation in which a resident or business owner is on vacation or is out of town when the storm is over.

“Have a relative remove the sidewalk or hire someone to remove the snow,” he said.

Residents worried about the potential fines can take solace in this week’s forecast.

“We’re probably not going to see much snow in the coming week,” Bill Gartner, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in State College, said Sunday afternoon.

By this time of year, the region has received on average about 17 inches of snow, but so far this winter season, beginning in November, just over 10 inches have fallen in the Williamsport area, Gartner said.

Each year, close to 27 inches of snow falls here, but as Gartner said “We still have a lot of winter yet to come, “ so the current snowfall could easily catch up with what the region usually receives.

As of Sunday, 6.6 inch of snow fell during January. The average snowfall for the month is 8,3 inches.

With Wednesday and Thursday being the exception, it will be mostly cloudy much of the week as well as dry, Gartner said. It will be sunny with both Wednesday and Thursday with a high temperature close to 37 degrees.

An overnight low of 19 degrees is expected Wednesday. Clouds will return Friday with the potential of rain or snow showers during the weekend.

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