Updated 1/4/2022: Winter weather status – How we’re responding to snow and ice, and resources to stay informed

Our crew member works to clear snow on 6th Ave S in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District on Tuesday, December 28, 2021. Photo credit: SDOT

Latest Update: 1/4/2022, 12:55 PM

  • Weather Update:
    • We continue to see winter weather in Seattle. Temperatures are low and fluctuating above and below freezing, creating ice on streets and sidewalks across the city as snow melts and then potentially turns into black ice.
    • The National Weather Service website has the latest Seattle area forecast details.
  • Ice Safety:
    • We urge everyone who needs to travel to expect ice on streets and sidewalks that can be hard to see. Go slow, be cautious, and if you’re driving please leave extra space around you.
    • Watch out for side streets that haven’t been treated, especially on hills. These streets can be slippery and challenging to drive on, and sidewalks can be hard to navigate. Avoid steep side streets that haven’t been treated, even if there isn’t a closure sign. Ice may have formed overnight or in shadows.
    • Safety remains our number-one priority, and we appreciate everyone’s attention to safe travel while driving, walking, rolling, biking, or taking transit, particularly with the ongoing icy conditions.
  • SDOT Crews Continue to Respond:
    • Our crews are continuing to regularly traverse our snow plow routes to treat and de-ice the roadway and help keep essential travel routes clear and for transit, emergency response vehicles, and drivers.
    • We are also working to clear and treat sidewalks, protected bike lanes, and the pedestrian overpasses and bridges that we manage, to help provide safe routes for people walking, rolling, and biking in Seattle.
    • We are coordinating with schools, medical centers, and other regional priority areas to keep Seattle safe and moving as we come out of this winter storm.

Prior Update: 1/3/2022, 2:50 PM

  • Weather Update:
    • Temperatures continue to increase as snow and ice turn into slush. Periodic rain showers are expected to continue in the Seattle area throughout the week. As usual, please visit the National Weather Service website for the latest local forecast details.
  • Street, Sidewalk, and Bike Lane Updates:
    • Our crews continue to clear and re-open many streets throughout the city as conditions continue to thaw.
    • We also continue to clear protected bike lanes, sidewalks, and pedestrian overpasses and bridges that we manage, to help provide safe routes for people walking, rolling, and biking in Seattle.
    • We’re working with public health agencies, emergency service providers, and Seattle Public Schools to identify opportunities to improve access to schools and important public health sites like vaccine clinics, warming shelters, dialysis centers, and other locations specifically requested by the Seattle Police and Fire departments.
  • Thank You and Looking Ahead:
    • We want to again thank you, the Seattle community, for your ongoing resilience and fortitude as navigate our way out of the recent snow and ice storms. Your continued dedication to safety has been vital over the past week-plus. This includes traveling safely and going slow when you do need to make a trip, as well as looking out for each other in your local neighborhood. Thank you.
    • We also want to give a big shout-out to our crews for continuing to work day and night to help clear, treat, and monitor key routes throughout the city. This effort is essential to keeping Seattle moving throughout the holidays and now into the new year.
    • As the snow continues to melt, we are also focusing on keeping storm drains clear so that water can move from the roadway and sidewalks into the stormwater drainage system and help keep travel routes safe and accessible for all.

Prior Update: 1/2/2022, 10:30 AM

  • Weather Update:
    • Temperatures are above freezing today (Sunday, Jan. 2) and forecasted to continue rising in the coming days, with a chance of overnight low temperatures remaining near freezing on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights.
    • Please continue to use caution and anticipate the potential for snow and ice on the roads and sidewalks if you need to travel. There is also a chance of rain showers throughout the coming week.
    • Please visit the National Weather Service website for the latest detailed forecast of the Seattle area.
  • Roadway Updates:
    • Our crews continue to conduct snow and ice treatment of streets on our snow routes day and night to keep lanes clear and help prevent ice from forming when temperatures dip below freezing. You can always see the latest details of which roads have been recently treated via our Storm Response Map. We also have a citywide network of live traffic cameras for your awareness.
    • Overnight from Jan. 1-2, our crews treated several protected bike lanes along Pike St, Boren Ave, E Marginal Way S, and S Jackson St.
    • Today we are also focused on clearing routes for people walking, rolling, and biking, particularly along our pedestrian overpasses and bridges throughout the city, including over I-5 and I-90.
    • King County Metro shared that they’ve resumed normal Sunday bus service and deactivated Emergency Snow Network service. For the latest information, see King County Metro Transit’s Twitter account at @kcmetrobus or visit their King County Metro Winter website.
  • General Updates:
    • We are continuing to coordinate with Seattle Public Schools to treat streets around schools, including their COVID-19 test sites.
    • The Seahawks play a home game at Lumen Field today, with kick-off at 1:25 p.m. We encourage anyone traveling to the game to consider taking transit, if possible, and leave extra time to travel safely to and from the game.
  • Looking ahead:
    • As temperatures continue to rise in the coming days, we want to briefly remind residents and businesses to help keep storm drains clear of snow, ice, and debris. This helps melting snow and ice drain and can prevent urban flooding or ice forming on streets and sidewalks if there’s a re-freeze.
    • If you do need to travel, please watch for slippery and slushy sidewalks and streets, as well as potential falling icicles and snow.
    • We expect to begin to transition from this prolonged cold snap and sub-freezing temperatures into slightly warmer temperatures in the coming days, though the thawing and melting process could take time.
    • Thank you for your continued patience and efforts to keep yourself and others safe as we navigate the winter weather together. Stay safe, and we again wish you a Happy New Year.

Prior Update: 1/1/2022, 11:20 AM

  • Weather Update: There was no snow overnight, with a low of 22 °F. Today we will see increasing clouds and a high near 35 °F, with a slight chance of snow after 10 PM followed by rain.
  • General Updates:
    • HAPPY NEW YEAR! Thank you, Seattle, for being safe and coming together as a community to help your neighbors and to share support for city crews working day and night. We appreciate you!
    • People driving in the city are advised to avoid steep, untreated streets – whether the street has a “road closed” sign or not. If you must drive, please stick to our plowed and treated snow network as much as possible and avoid the steep or challenging areas of the city.
  • Roadway Updates
    • Overnight, crews continued to focus on snow routes. Most snow routes are bare and dry this morning with all travel lanes open.
    • Today, we will focus on clearing key segments of the protected bike lane network.
    • Crews will continue to clear and treat routes to address ice concerns, and focus on streets near COVID testing sites and Port of Seattle terminals.
  • Looking ahead
    • Port of Seattle terminals begin operations on Monday, and we expect more truck traffic on the roads.
    • Seattle Public Schools (SPS) are scheduled to reopen on Tuesday, Jan. 4. On Monday, Jan. 3, they will open COVID testing sites for staff (and optionally, students). We are coordinating with SPS and ready to deploy crews as needed.
    • There is a Seahawks game on Sunday at 1:25 PM.

Prior Update – 12/31/2021, 4:00 p.m.

  • Weather update: There was no snow overnight (12/30-12/31), and temperatures are expected to remain below freezing (32°F) until Saturday (Jan. 1, 2022). Saturday daytime temperatures are forecasted to be above freezing, but there is a 30% chance of rain or snow after 10 PM. Little or no snow accumulation is expected.
  • Roadway updates:
    • Crews have been focused on cleaning up the curb lanes on snow routes, and most routes are bare with the travel lanes open. The street is wet on some parts of these routes. We will continue clearing and treating routes, curb ramps and facilities to address low temperatures on Friday night. We are also preparing for events at Seattle Center tonight and Lumen Field on Sunday.
    • Crews also cleared and treated many steep streets and reopened them. Streets that remain closed are shown in red on the Storm Response Map.
    • Crews also treated Aurora, SODO, Rainier Beach and West Seattle COVID testing sites.
    • We continue to clear and treat areas around Port of Seattle terminals.
    • King County Metro is currently on their Emergency Snow Network.
  • Looking ahead:
    • On Saturday and Sunday, we will work to clear pedestrian areas on overpasses and bridges as well as protected bike lanes. As part of our storm response plan, we typically have a dedicated team of about 45 people working to shovel curb ramps, bus stops, public stairways, and pedestrian overpasses.
    • Seattle Public Schools (SPS) are scheduled to reopen on Tuesday, Jan. 4. On Monday, Jan. 3, they will open COVID testing sites for staff (and optionally, students). We are coordinating with SPS and ready to deploy crews as needed.

Prior Update – 12/30/2021, 9:40 a.m.:

  • Snow updates: The first round of new snow began just before 9 p.m. on Wednesday, December 29 and lasted through midnight. The second round of snow began around 3 a.m. this morning (December 30) and could continue into the 9 a.m. hour in parts of Seattle.
  • Temperature updates: Temperatures are expected to warm to 34 degrees during the day today (December 30), before dropping back below freezing.
  • Roadway updates:
    • Most arterials have at least one lane in each direction that is bare and wet or is passable with a thin blanket of snow that turns to slush.
    • SW Andover Street was cleared between 23rd Ave SW and Delridge Way SW in West Seattle, but was kept closed when the snowfall resumed.
    • Other streets that had previously been reopened were closed again today in response to the new snow. Crews applied de-icer to Beacon Ave S and Martin Luther King Jr Way S in Southeast Seattle.
    • Road grader equipment was deployed citywide to plow major arterials, including at S Graham St, Seaview Ave NW, Broadway, California Ave SW, Beach Drive SW, SW Holden St, 23rd Ave E, SW Morgan St, California Ave SW, Delridge Way SW, Sylvan Way SW, Highland Park Way SW, the S Lander St overpass, and the 1st Ave S and 4th Ave S overpasses over Argo Yard, which is located in the Georgetown/SODO area, south of downtown Seattle.

  • Prior update – 12/29/2021, 4:50 p.m.:
  • Overview: Our crews continue to work day and night to respond to the snowstorm. With most of the city’s most critical routes for transit and emergency services cleared earlier this week, our team focused today on removing new safety hazards on streets, clearing sidewalks in busy neighborhoods, and treating major routes to help prevent ice from forming. Our latest snow plow movements can be found on our SDOT Storm Response Map, which is frequently updated.
  • Road conditions and reopened streets: Today’s weather conditions allowed us to begin clearing streets on hills that are too steep to plow during a significant snow storm. Here are some of the streets that were reopened today:
    • Queen Anne Ave N (between Roy St and W Galer St)
    • W Dravus St (between 11th Ave W and 15th Ave W)
    • N 130th St (between Evanston Ave N and Linden Ave N)
    • N 85th St (between Wallingford Ave N and I-5)
    • NW Market St (between Phinney Ave N and 6th Ave NW)
    • NW 100th St (between 8th Ave NW and 15th Ave)
    • 8th Ave (between Seneca St and Pike St)
    • SW Alaska St (between 46th Ave SW and 47th Ave SW)  
    • S McClellan St (between 23rd Ave S and Rainier Ave S)
    • Lake Washington Blvd (between E Madison St and McGilvra Blvd E)
    • S Cloverdale (between Beacon Ave S and Martin Luther King Jr Way S)
    • S Graham St (between Wilson Ave S and 46th Ave S)
    • S Orcas St (between 52nd Ave S and Lake Washington Blvd S)
    • S Winthrop St (between Martin Luther King Jr Way S and 27th Ave S)
  • Road clearing work continues: Crews are continuing work to clear other closed roads including sections of Phinney Ave N and additional sections of W Dravus St in Magnolia. Clearing ice and snow from these hills is challenging work which takes time to accomplish safely. While this work continues, please be sure to follow all “road closed” signs, which are placed for everyone’s safety.
  • Clearing street hazards and improving access to vital public health sites: Our crews are also working to address other specific hazards on other roads where possible, particularly when it helps improve access to critical public health sites such as warming shelters, vaccine clinics, dialysis centers, or locations requested by the Seattle Police or Fire departments. For example, we worked on Tuesday to clear additional sidewalks and side street access to COVID-19 testing sites in SODO, West Seattle, Aurora Ave N, and the Rainier Valley. We’ve also worked to clear snow from parking and turn lanes near Seattle Children’s Hospital.
  • Ice prevention and safety reminders: Treating major streets to help prevent ice from forming is another priority for our crews, particularly with the potential for more snow in the coming days. Ice remains a potential hazard, and we encourage the public to not drive unless it is necessary. Please be careful, take it slow, and watch out for people walking, rolling, biking, and driving.
  • Clearing sidewalks to support accessibility: There are more than 2,400 miles of sidewalks in Seattle. Our crews can’t be at every location all at once, so it is everyone’s responsibility to do their part. Please help by shoveling the sidewalks around your home or business – it isn’t just the law, it’s the right thing to do so that everyone can travel safely, particularly people who are blind, disabled, or have a harder time getting around. This video we created with Rooted in Rights explains why this is so important. We work to shovel sidewalks that aren’t near privately owned buildings, including 30 outdoor stairways, dozens of pedestrian overpasses, and approximately 1,200 curb ramps.
  • Informing local businesses and residents about snow clearing responsibilities: On Tuesday, our SDOT street use inspectors visited approximately 2,500 blocks of sidewalks in busy neighborhoods with lots of foot traffic to emphasize the sidewalk clearing laws. When inspectors observe that a sidewalk has not been properly cleared, they knock on doors to talk to the adjacent businesses and residents to make sure that they understand their legal responsibility to clear the sidewalk adjacent to their property. If no one is present, the inspectors will leave door hangers in multiple languages with this information. We also talk to contractors to make sure they are clearing all the pedestrian detour routes if their work has blocked the sidewalk directly in front of their construction site. If inspectors hear about a particularly potentially hazardous condition or find that a curb ramp has been blocked by snow, then they will report it back to SDOT operations center to dispatch a sidewalk clearing crew.
  • How you can help: In addition to helping shovel sidewalks near your home or business, you can contact us to report a potentially hazardous sidewalk condition by phone at (206) 684-ROAD [7623] or by email at 684_ROAD@seattle.gov. We respond as quickly as we can while prioritizing clearing locations first with the most concerning public safety conditions, or where lots of people need to frequently walk through every day. We also encourage you to visit our Winter Weather Response website for additional resources. Over the past few months, we’ve connected with 35 community groups to provide information in 14 languages, including distributing approximately 20,000 brochures. Thank you for your help as we work together to support everyone’s safety during these ongoing winter weather conditions.

  • Prior update – 12/28/2021, 4:30 p.m.:
  • Our crews are continuing to work 24/7 to respond to the snow storm. We are deeply appreciative of all the workers who gave up their holiday vacation plans and sacrificed time with their families to respond to the storm.
  • Our primary focus continues to be ensuring the streets identified in our winter weather response plan remain safe to drive on. These snow plow routes were selected because they are the most important routes for emergency services, hospital access, transit, and other public needs. We continue to share real-time updates on snow plow movements via our interactive storm response map.
  • We are actively monitoring the situation around the clock and continue to treat roads to help prevent melting snow from refreezing and forming ice on the recently cleared pavement. Please be aware of the potential for this ice on streets and sidewalks if you need to travel – and allow yourself extra space to slow down and stop to keep yourself and other travelers safe.
  • In addition to plowing the streets, our crews are responding to a variety of other potential road hazards including removing fallen trees and branches covered in ice that appear likely to fall, as well as responding to traffic incidents and disabled vehicles in the roadway.
  • Remember, it is everyone’s responsibility to shovel the sidewalks around your home or business. We can’t be everywhere at once, so your help is vital. We have dedicated teams working to shovel sidewalks in locations farther from privately owned buildings like outdoor stairways, pedestrian overpasses, and curb ramps throughout the city.

Just in time for the holidays, the National Weather Service (NWS) forecasted a significant amount of snow to reach the Seattle area, starting the weekend of December 25-26, 2021. Please see the NWS website and NWS Seattle Twitter feed for weather forecast details. We are sharing some important safety reminders and resources to help you stay informed and be prepared for the winter weather.

You can count on us to clear major roads, but our crews can’t be everywhere all 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 or icy conditions when necessary.

As City workers continue working to clear snow and ice, we are asking the public to help too. You can:

For more information, please visit our Winter Weather web page. We have also posted printable copies of our winter weather preparation postcard.

Seattle Department of Transportation workers use shovels to clear a path for people walking, rolling, and biking across the Fremont Bridge in Seattle during the February 2019 snow storm. The two workers wear bright orange safety coats and white hard hats while they work.
Our crews work to clear a pathway across the Fremont Bridge during the February 2019 snow storm. Photo credit: SDOT.

The Mayor issued a press release on December 23, 2021, which includes additional details about Severe Weather Shelters to serve community members who are experiencing homelessness, as well as Day Centers and Warming Centers for all community members to come inside and stay warm during the day. The press release also includes information about utilities, electricity, parks, and other reminders from City of Seattle departments.

We wish you and your family a happy holiday season and appreciate your efforts to stay safe and be ready as these cold winter weather conditions continue. Thank you!

Informational graphic advising Seattle residents and travelers how to prepare for winter weather in advance. The graphic includes several smaller icons and text describing several ways to prepare.
This graphic describes several ways Seattle residents and travelers can prepare for winter weather. Graphic credit: SDOT.