The National Weather Service is predicting possible snow tomorrow, Christmas day, for the Seattle area – as long as we track to the NAM model:
“The really uncertain part of the forecast is the rest of the interior lowlands from Puget Sound southward. The NAM and WRF-GFS are at opposite ends of the spectrum… The NAM shows several hours of snow with up to 3 inches accumulation for the Puget Sound region… perhaps a little more for the SW interior. The WRF-GFS shows a freezing level around 1300 feet and just rain for the lower elevations… and maybe an inch or so for the higher hills.”
Now while Cliff Mass disagrees on the possibility (he believes it will be “too warm for snow in Seattle”), we can all agree that there was a lot of snow in 1916. The “Big Snow” of 1916 holds the record as the second-deepest blizzard in Seattle history with 21.5 inches of snow falling in 24 hours.
Queen Anne Ave N, 1916
Courtesy of the Queen Anne Historical Society
So, just in case you don’t get your snow fix tomorrow – and if you do, send us your pictures – check out the Queen Anne Historical Society’s new Queen Anne Snow slideshow that includes images dating all the way back to 1898, as well as photos from the Big Snow of 1916.
The overnight snowfall may not have been the 2-6 inches forecasters warned us about, but there is a very light dusting of snow on the ground in Queen Anne this morning. The forecast calls for anywhere from a trace to 2 inches more later today.
With the temperature currently at 26 degrees, commuters are advised to keep an eye out for ice. Metro buses are on snow routes this morning, and Microsoft has canceled all its Connector routes. Here’s SDOT’s first report this AM:
Most city streets are bare and wet this morning. Crews from the Seattle Department of Transportation are treating major arterial streets to guard against the formation of ice in advance of the morning commute period. Snowfall last night was highly variable around the city. Beacon Hill, southern Rainier Valley, and higher parts of West Seattle appear to have had the most snow.
WSDOT crews have been busy treating the freeways. For the most part, traffic is moving smoothly. You can check the latest WSDOT traffic updates, the flow map and the full set of WSDOT cameras.
Metro Transit is gearing up for possible snow this afternoon by chaining up buses and planning to move from regular routes to snow routes.
Metro buses will move to snow routing as travel conditions change. When buses move to snow routes, it will be announced through Transit Alerts and on the Metro Online website. Check the status for your route before you travel.
Metro is using an online color-coded map to keep riders informed of the status of its bus service. All bus routes are assigned into one or more of seven geographic areas within King County. When there is snow or ice on the roads, the service status of each area will be color coded and displayed on the online map. Green indicates buses are operating on normal routes; yellow that some – but not all – routes in the area are on snow routes (primarily in higher elevation areas); and red tells you that all bus routes in the entire geographic area are on snow routing.
People without online access can call the Customer Information Office at (206) 553-3000. General information about service will also be sent out via the kcmetrobus Twitter account.
Expect buses to be crowded and significantly delayed when on snow routes and travel is difficult. Also, many people may leave work early today, so take that into consideration in deciding when to travel. Metro encourages people to limit travel if possible if roads become snowy and icy.
In preparation for a big snowfall today, the City of Seattle has also activated its snow plan. Early in the morning, ten snow plows hit the north end of the city. At 9 a.m., the Seattle Department of Transportation went into “full 24-hour response plan to keep roads open, buses moving and critical emergency services accessible,” Rick Sheridan of SDOT writes. More from the release:
The response plan calls for deploying 30 trucks with plows, which will be prepositioned throughout the city in key locations such as elevated structures and certain trouble spots on major arterials. The department starting pre-treating major roadways with salt brine this afternoon in preparation for the storm. Additional details concerning SDOT’s response will be forthcoming as more information about the impending storm becomes available.
SDOT also reminds property owners that they are responsible for the sidewalks in front of their properties.
Mayor Mike McGinn says this storm could be like that of November 22, 2010. “Because Wednesday afternoon’s commute is expected to be difficult,” McGinn writes in a statement, “It may be a good day to work an alternate shift, telecommute or make other travel arrangements if possible.”
Metro Transit is also urging passengers to be prepared for the snow.
Wednesday’s snowfall may start out light in some areas, but transit users should plan ahead for bus trips that could be disrupted, delayed, and on snow routing. Even though weather in the morning may not be bad in your area, you should leave from a bus stop or park-and-ride that also has service when buses are on snow routes in case travel conditions deteriorate by the afternoon commute.
It’s snowing in Queen Anne, as of 1:20 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, but before you get too excited, the snowfall is not expected to stick. For the last week, forecasters have been predicting snow. Well, it’s here, at least for now.
According to the National Weather Service, “expect brief and local accumulations of slushy snow to occur through early Wednesday morning. This is likely to occur on hills above about 500 feet this morning and above 300 feet tonight and early Wednesday morning.” A “winter storm watch” is in effect from Wednesday morning to Thursday morning. A winter storm watch means conditions are favorable for severe winter weather.
UW Atmospheric Science professor and weather blogger Cliff Mass is predicting that this storm will dump two to five inches of snow in north Seattle. “Good news for commuters and SDOT tomorrow,” Mass writes, “Temperatures will remain above freezing, SO NO SOLID ICE LAYER like Nov 22, 2010.”
Reader Ann V sent us a link (via KING5) to this video of a snowboarder who recorded his run down Queen Anne Ave N using a camera attached to a pole, which he held out in front of him as he traversed the icy hillside. No need for a second camera man here!
Though the snow didn’t cause nearly the same amount of chaos on the hill as last time, there were still a few minor incidents of cars slipping around on the ice, and sometimes up on the curbs.
Madeleine sent us this picture of a car that slid up onto the sidewalk, taken at Queen Anne Ave N and W Armour Stat around 9 p.m. on Tuesday.
Street Maintenance crews worked throughout the night clearing up to six inches of wet snow and slush from major arterial streets around the city. This morning crews are clearing slush that remains on some arterial streets, especially at the tops of hills. Also, more than 30 SDOT employees are clearing street corners in high priority areas such as around hospitals and in business districts.
SDOT asks drivers to use caution when driving where there is still slush on the roadway making the streets slippery, and to be on the lookout for standing water. Residents and businesspersons are asked to check the drains near their homes and businesses to make sure the drains are not blocked by debris so that water can enter easily. Also, residents and businesspersons are encouraged to clear slush from the sidewalks around their property to enable pedestrians to pass by safely.
Updated 10:30 p.m.: All King Country Metro buses are now on snow routes. The Seattle Department of Transportation has announced that it will begin to transition to plowing snow routes as they continue to spread salt throughout the city. Though it is still falling hard out there, there is some good news, at least for those who face a morning commute—forecasters expect the snow to transition to rain sometime between midnight and 10 a.m. Wednesday. For the time being, however, Queen Anne Avenue and West Olympic/10th Avenue W are just a few streets drivers should avoid.
If you’re still planning to head up or down the hill tonight, you might want to find a way around Queen Anne Avenue. Just after 9 p.m. this evening the Counterbalance claimed its first victim of tonight’s snowy slope when a vehicle lost control and went over the curb of the southwest corner of Queen Anne Ave N and Aloha.
Remember, if you have to head up the Counterbalance as the snow piles up tonight, use four-wheel drive and/or chains, keep distance from other cars, and be careful. If you can, take another way up the south slope (5th Ave N or Olympic to 10th Ave W). And if you’re parking on the slope tonight, try to find as flat of a space as possible, and don’t forget to turn your wheels into the curb.
We’ve been hearing talk of snow over the last few days. The latest forecast says that anywhere from 1 to 3 inches of snow could be heading our way, beginning after 4 p.m. today and changing to rain after midnight.
The National Weather Service is giving out a bit of interesting advise to help avoid mayhem on the streets: “People should seriously consider finishing their afternoon commute early today if at all possible.” Metro Transit is also warning folks to plan ahead, considering the likelihood that afternoon and evening bus routes will be disrupted. We’ll keep you updated as we hear more.
We’re expecting some snow later in the day on Tuesday and it’s likely to start accumulating during the afternoon commute. King County Metro Transit wants to remind you that your afternoon commute might look a lot different than your morning one.
They have passed along the following tips to make your commute run smoother in case of weather issues.
Before traveling, riders should check www.kingcounty.gov/metro/snow for the most current status of Metro service. Updates to the online information begin as early as 4 a.m. and continue as needed until the storm is over.
Know the snow routing for your bus route. Check the timetables at www.metro.kingcounty.gov for snow route maps for each route. Not every bus route has snow routing, but most do
If you haven’t already, sign up for Transit Alerts to keep up with any major changes to bus service. The alerts can be received as email or text messages. Go to www.metro.kingcounty.gov/signup to subscribe
Metro is using a new online color-coded map to keep riders informed of the status of its bus service, which can be found online at: www.metro.kingcounty.gov/snow. All bus routes are assigned into one or more of seven geographic areas within King County. When there is snow or ice on the roads, the service status of each area will be color coded and displayed on the online map. Green indicates buses are operating on normal routes; yellow that some – but not all – routes in the area are on snow routes (primarily in higher elevation areas); and red tells you that all bus routes in the entire geographic area are on snow routing
People without online access can call the Customer Information Office at (206) 553-3000. General information about service will also be sent out via the kcmetrobus Twitter account
Light snow is falling again around the neighborhood, but this time it’s cold enough to stick. “The flurries should only dust a few spots this morning with less that an inch accumulations,” says KING 5 Meteorologist Rich Marriott.
The major thoroughfares in Queen Anne are just wet, and traffic is moving well. Check the Queen Anne-area traffic cams to get a feel for the conditions.
Meanwhile, the latest forecast run for tomorrow night is “1 to 4 inches” in the lowlands, with snow turning to rain by Wednesday afternoon.