Snow Emergencies

snow covered cars

When any amount of snowfall occurs, residents should remove vehicles from Hopkins city streets, parking lots, right-of-ways, and the Municipal Parking Ramp.

If the snowfall is 2 inches or more, a snow emergency may be declared. As soon as the announcement is made, residents must remove vehicles from the restricted locations (city streets and parking lots, right-of-ways, and the Municipal Parking Ramp) to avoid being towed.

These restrictions will remain in effect until streets are plowed curb to curb, and parking lots and the Municipal Ramp are completely plowed.

In addition to moving cars, it is the responsiblity of Hopkins residents and businesses to remove snow and ice from public sidewalks.

How do I know if Hopkins has declared a snow emergency?

Call the snow line at 952-939-1399. Though local media including WCCO-AM radio and WCCO-TV are notified of a Hopkins’ snow emergency, the stations do not guarantee the announcement will be broadcast. Also note that snow depths are measured in Hopkins and may not coincide with the snow depths reported at the Minneapolis - St. Paul International Airport.

The City also intends to send out notification messages about snow emergencies using Code Red. Your home phone number is already in this system. If you want to receive notifications on one or more cell phones, register the phone numbers.

Where else can I park?

If you do not have anywhere to park your car off City streets and City parking lots, use the approved snow emergency parking locations.

When will towing begin?

If a snow emergency is declared in Hopkins during the afternoon or early evening, tagging and towing enforcement will normally begin at 10 pm and crews will begin plowing shortly after midnight. However, depending on the snow fall, tagging and towing could begin earlier. The Snow Line, 952-939-1399, will have the actual time. When a snow emergency is declared after 10 pm, tagging and towing operations will begin at 8 am on the following day.

What do I do if my vehicle is towed?

If you've been towed due to the snow emergency, find out more about reclaiming your vehicle.

Why does the City declare snow emergencies? Can't you just plow around vehicles?

In order to efficiently plow the snow from City streets, every vehicle needs to be off the streets. This allows plowing to be done as quickly as possible.

Plowing around cars would mean that plows would have to come back to streets after cars have been moved. In addition, freezing conditions may cause ridges to form where cars are plowed around. It can be very difficult to remove these ridges.

Why not just ban parking on City streets throughout the winter?

Off street parking can be difficult to find in parts of Hopkins. Much of Hopkins was built when there were fewer cars. It is not uncommon for households to have three or more vehicles. Banning on street parking would be a hardship for many households.

There have been times when more than 2 inches of snow has fallen and no emergency was called. Why?

When deciding whether to call a snow emergency, the City not only looks at the short term forecast but also takes into consideration the time of year. In December or January, a 2 inch snowfall may be followed by freezing conditions or additional snowfalls. It is important to prevent a small snowfall from freezing on the streets. A larger snowfall in March or April may be followed by 40° temperatures. There is no point in going to the expense and inconvenience of calling a snow emergency if the snow is going to melt fairly quickly.

Does the City receive any money from towing cars?

The City does not get any of the money that is charged to vehicle owners when their vehicles are towed. All of the money goes to the towing contractor. The best possible outcome for a snow emergency is to have no vehicles towed.

How long does it take to plow all the streets and alleys in Hopkins?

Under a snowfall of 3-5”, if a snow emergency is called, and all equipment and personnel are dispatched, we can finish plowing and salting operations in 8 hours. It doesn’t take that much less time to do if there is less snow as we still have to drive all the streets and alleys. It takes more time to remove deeper snow.


  • To find out if Hopkins is in a snow emergency, call:
  • Receive snow emergency notifications on your cell phone by signing up for Code Red.

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