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Surviving Seattle Snow with Plows, Plans, and a lot of Salt

Snow struck Seattle, and we’re happy to say our response was a success at keeping the city moving!

As flakes turned to flurries on Thursday night, our snow response teams at Charles Street Service Station were ready with plows, deicers, and a lot (lot) of salt. We even got a visit from Mayor Ed Murray!


We were happy for the chance to talk with the Mayor, and accompanying news crews, about our plan to keep the city moving even in inclement weather. Through our focus on arterial (main) roads along our Gold and Green routes, and the hard work of our crews through the night, the Friday AM commute was minimally interrupted for cars and buses.

In addition to which routes we’d plow, we discussed the importance of road salt (magnesium chloride) as an anti-icing agent to prevent ice freezing to pavement. This salt is better for mobility and the environment than traditionally used sand, although neither would be good on popcorn.


Most modern cars have an undercoating which protects against any corrosion from the road salt, but we do recommend drivers wash vehicles to prevent build-up. Our street sweeping team will also go out after the weather warms to clean up any residual salt. Our crews use the latest innovations to ensure we can make the roads safe in a sustainable way.


We’ve learned a lot about preparing for winter weather, and we may get the chance to put it into practice again soon, as more snow could be on the way. Stay safe out there, and check our Winter Weather Map for the latest route information!