We’re conducting a snow plow test run this week. Here’s how you can help us prepare for winter snow storms.

SDOT snow plows at the ready to respond to winter storms. Photo credit: SDOT.

We are ready to respond to winter storms. On Thursday, December 9, we will hold a snow plow training exercise to test equipment and ensure that snow plow drivers are familiar with their routes. This training exercise is one example of the work that occurs year-round to prepare for winter storms and keep crew members in good practice.

We monitor weather conditions 24/7 and will pre-treat major roads before it begins to snow to prevent ice from forming. If snow begins to fall, crews will work 24 hours per day to clear Seattle’s most critical streets for buses and emergency services. Crew members from Seattle Public Utilities and Seattle Parks and Recreation are also trained to drive snow response vehicles and ready to help.

A snow plow truck travels along Broadway E, a major arterial in Seattle. The large white truck is pushing snow to help clear the roadway. Snow is visible in the foreground, as well as several large buildings in the background.
A Seattle Department of Transportation snow plow driver works to clear Broadway E, a major arterial in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood during the February 2019 snow storm in Seattle. Photo credit: SDOT.

We prioritize plowing 1,200 miles of Seattle’s most critical routes to hospitals, schools, emergency services, and shelters. As hard as our crews work, it may take up to 12 hours after a break in the storm to clear all these roads.

You can count on us to clear major roads, but crews can’t be everywhere at once. It is everyone’s responsibility to clear ice and snow from the sidewalks around their homes and businesses to keep communities safe. It’s not just the law; it’s the right thing to do so that people of all ages and abilities can travel safely following a snowstorm if it becomes necessary.

Two workers with the Seattle Department of Transportation work to clear snow and ice along a sidewalk and curb ramps in Seattle following a snow storm in 2019.
Our crews work to clear sidewalks and curb ramps in Seattle during the February 2019 snow storm. Photo credit: SDOT.

As City workers prepare for snow, we are asking the public to help get ready:

  • View a map to see Seattle’s snow plow routes. During snow events, use this online Storm Response Map to see real-time updates about road conditions and which roads we have recently plowed.
  • Talk to your neighbors to see who may need help during a storm. Make a community plan to ensure that all the sidewalks on the block get shoveled. Make sure you have a shovel and salt ready or know who to ask if you need a helping hand.
  • Visit the SDOT Winter Weather webpage for more information about how to get around safely when it snows. Visit MetroWinter.com for King County Metro transit updates.
  • View this SDOT Blog post to learn more about how you and your neighbors can prepare for snow.

For more information and printable copies of our Winter Weather brochure, visit www.seattle.gov/transportation/winter-weather.

Seattle Snow Plow Route Map
Seattle Snow Plow Route Map. Graphic credit: SDOT