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MINNEAPOLIS - The red and white Snow Emergency Route street signs found throughout Minneapolis are getting a slight makeover.

In the coming weeks, drivers will see the new signs along the city's Snow Emergency routes. Eventually, all 5,500 of the signs will be replaced.

The signs that are up now are reaching the ends of their useful service lives, officials said. Many have been around for close to 15 years, and their reflective surfaces have weathered.

The new signs will have a new type of sheeting that last longer and have better reflective material, which will enhance the visibility on dark winter nights, officials say.

Another big change is that the new signs include the Snow Emergency hotline: 612-348-SNOW.

Helping drivers stay informed about Snow Emergencies

Residents, workers and visitors have a number of ways to learn when Snow Emergencies are declared and what to do when they are. We're advising drivers to put many of these tools to use, not just one or two. The more ways people use to learn about a Snow Emergency, the more prepared they will be to do their part, and the less likely they will be to be towed because they didn't know one was declared.

  • Hotline - By calling the automated 612-348-SNOW hotline, folks can find out if a Snow Emergency has been declared. The hotline will include 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 and for a wealth of information on Snow Emergencies in many languages. 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. You can 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.
  • The Mail - Every fall, a Snow Emergency informational brochure is mailed to every household in Minneapolis. That's around 167,000 addresses.
  • Smart phone app - The new Minneapolis Snow Emergency app tells you where you can and can't park on Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3 of a Snow Emergency to help you avoid a ticket and a tow. This app DOES NOT tell you if and when a Snow Emergency has been declared, but it's easy to find out using the app since it features a quick call button that connects you with the Snow Emergency hotline.
  • The 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 cable channels 14 and 79. 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. Download the app for Android -- Download the app for iPhone