SDOT prepares for slippery streets & possibly snow

Posted on December 28th, 2010 by Editor


The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is preparing for the possibility of snow and ice on city streets again tomorrow. The forecast, which outlines temperatures just above freezing overnight tonight, could bring up to one-half inch of wet snow and the possibility of an additional inch of snow Wednesday morning.

Seattle skyline/view from Kerry Park under cover of snow, November 22, 2010.

The city is taking extra precautions so as not to have a repeat last month’s snowpocalypse, which left many city streets icy and dangerous.

After 10 p.m. tonight SDOT crews will proactively apply salt brine in roadway areas where frost or black ice is prone to develop, especially on bridges and other elevated structures around the city.

Starting at 4 a.m. tomorrow morning (Wednesday), SDOT spreader trucks will be prepositioned throughout the city, ready to spread rock salt on major arterial streets (primary snow routes, Levels 1 and 2) for the morning commute if conditions warrant.

SDOT’s snow plan calls for plowing when there is more than one inch of snow accumulated on roadways, which is not part of the forecast at this time.

Despite the potential for snow, University of Washington atmospheric scientist Cliff Mass says the likelihood that we’ll see a repeat of the snow and severe ice that blasted us on Thanksgiving week is low. He writes on his blog:

This is a VERY, VERY different situation than November 22nd. You will not see a powerful arctic blast associated with strong high pressure in British Columbia and a major coastal low over SW Washington. Temperatures will be far more marginal. Far less icing potential. But there COULD be some interesting wrinkles….like a chance for Puget Sound Convergence Zone snow.

Cliff estimates that “where precipitation is heavy enough, some snow showers could reach the surface, but nothing substantial.”

If the Convergence Zone is stronger than forecast then more snow could hit the Puget Sound lowlands. However, forecast temperatures are predicted to peak near 40F on Wednesday. This looks marginal to me…only heavy precipitation and the cooling associated with it…something that is not predicted… could bring several inches of snow to Seattle.

We will continue to monitor the evolution of this event, but right now it does not look serious event near sea level. Eastern suburbs could get few inches. Not an icing situation during the day…

Read more on SDOT’s winter weather response plan and to view a map of snow routes here.


  • DarkHawke

    I’d just like to know who was responsible for the suspension of even Metro snow route service up on the hill during the “snowpocalypse.” And what a RIDICULOUSLY overblown name for that snowfall! Only someone who came to town after December 1990 could call that storm, strong though it was, a “snowpocalypse!” Try a FOOT of snow and sustained 40-50 mph winds with 60+ gusts IN TOWN! A rough way to get a white Christmas, lemme tell ya!

    Regardless, the day after, we had buses going up the Kinnear snow route and a circulator running around the top of the hill, just as it should be and despite all the snow in the world still on the ground. It’s really sad to have witnessed basic city services go to seed before my very eyes over the last 18-20 years. Not that I’m surprised or anything, just sad.

  • DarkHawke

    I’d just like to know who was responsible for the suspension of even Metro snow route service up on the hill during the “snowpocalypse.” And what a RIDICULOUSLY overblown name for that snowfall! Only someone who came to town after December 1990 could call that storm, strong though it was, a “snowpocalypse!” Try a FOOT of snow and sustained 40-50 mph winds with 60+ gusts IN TOWN! A rough way to get a white Christmas, lemme tell ya!

    Regardless, the day after, we had buses going up the Kinnear snow route and a circulator running around the top of the hill, just as it should be and despite all the snow in the world still on the ground. It’s really sad to have witnessed basic city services go to seed before my very eyes over the last 18-20 years. Not that I’m surprised or anything, just sad.

  • Yuppers

    “It’s really sad to have witnessed basic city services go to seed before my very eyes over the last 18-20 years.”

    That’s what happens when the citizens vote down every single tax initiative. How is a municipality supposed to provide basic services?

  • Yuppers

    “It’s really sad to have witnessed basic city services go to seed before my very eyes over the last 18-20 years.”

    That’s what happens when the citizens vote down every single tax initiative. How is a municipality supposed to provide basic services?

  • DarkHawke

    Umm, do you live in Seattle? There ain’t a tax that folks ’round here WON’T raise! What taxes we don’t pay are courtesy the mostly sane voters in the rest of the state and the pitifully few that live in the Puget Sound counties. It’s not a matter of undertaxation, it’s a matter of overspending! If we worried more about maintaining city infrastructure and less about coddling the bums and their advocates, this city and its citizens would be MUCH better off.

  • DarkHawke

    Umm, do you live in Seattle? There ain’t a tax that folks ’round here WON’T raise! What taxes we don’t pay are courtesy the mostly sane voters in the rest of the state and the pitifully few that live in the Puget Sound counties. It’s not a matter of undertaxation, it’s a matter of overspending! If we worried more about maintaining city infrastructure and less about coddling the bums and their advocates, this city and its citizens would be MUCH better off.