It’s cold, Seattle.
The forecast shows snow continuing throughout the night, especially after midnight. Expect about 1-2″ of snow accumulation with more at higher elevations in the city.
Many routes have a mix of conditions. Some lanes are bare and wet while some portions of all routes have compact snow and slush. As the temperature continues to drop and the pavement becomes colder, ice will form.
You need to prepare.
We will continue to work as expeditiously and hard for you to be safe and have accessible roads for our buses, first responders, and large employers. Please prepare for a potential icy commute. If possible, please avoid driving. Tomorrow will be another great day to flex those commute schedules if possible. Travel will be challenging for everyone – stay safe, stay alert, and plan ahead. Wear the appropriate cold weather clothing including hats, gloves, and boots.
If you need to drive:
Check out WSDOT’s traffic cameras to see current conditions on our major highways. Slow down, be patient, and leave lots of room for the car in front of you. Even if pavement appears to be bare, it can still be icy due to freezing conditions. Stick to major roads and check our Winter Weather Response map to see which roads have been plowed before you go.
Clear your windows, fill your gas tank, and check your tires to ensure your car is good to go BEFORE you leave. Bring the necessary gear, such as an ice scraper, a flashlight, tire chains, and water and snacks. Please obey “Street Closed” signs – they’re placed there for your safety and allow us and the Seattle Police Department to keep an eye on the situation.
PLEASE stay home if you can! If you can’t, here are some tips if you feel your vehicle starting to lose traction…
❄️Let off the gas
❄️Steer the direction you want your car to go
❄️Wait for your vehicle to gain traction
❄️GENTLY apply acceleration #ButForReal #StayHome
— Trooper Johnna Batiste (@wspd1pio) February 4, 2019
Lastly, be kind to one another. Look out for pedestrians and children playing in the snow. Give plow trucks and other road crews lots of room to work.
You’re responsible for outfitting your cars for winter weather, including chains or other traction devices. Remember, while snow is forecasted to taper off, temperatures will stay cold and streets have the potential to be slick.
If you’re riding transit:
King County Metro: Sign up for King County Metro alerts. Know your bus’s schedule by checking King County Metro’s Snow, Ice, & Flood Alerts page. More info and resources are available on their Metro Winter webpage.
Follow us on Twitter for real-time traffic updates.
Follow SDOT, WSDOT, and King County Metro on Twitter for additional information throughout the day:
- SDOT: @SDOTtraffic for real-time traffic updates.
- King County Metro: @KCMetrobus.
- WSDOT: @WSDOT_Traffic.
- Sound Transit: @SoundTransit
Here’s our action plan:
- We’ll continue running 12-hour snow and ice response shifts.
- We’ll apply salt as needed to minimize ice formation with an emphasis on steeper routes and higher elevations.
- We have begun planning for the next storm front expected Thursday/Friday.
It’s been about 36 hours since our crews hit the road.
Our crews started with pretreating the roadways before the snow fell with salt brine to prevent ice from forming. And as the snow fell overnight and throughout the morning, our crews continue to drive their routes, treating the roadway with salt where needed. At any time, you can check our interactive Winter Weather Map to see where we’ve plowed in the last 1-3 hours. You can also click on cameras to see road conditions.
We’ve had three dozen plow crews treating city streets. Our crews will continue to operate at full capacity over the next 48 hours.
Day Shift has taken over from night shift and now night shift has taken over for our day shift. New drivers are on the road to continue treating and plowing all routes through the night with a newly replenished supply of 500+ tons of salt for our 35+ plows. Drivers from Seattle Public Utilities and Seattle Parks and Recreation have partnered with us to help in this great effort.
For each 12-hour shift, there is 50-60 staff who have so far treated our surface streets with approximately 400 tons of salt. In addition, we have 15-30 hand crews clearing curb ramps for pedestrians.
Please help in this effort as good neighbors and remove the snow and ice from sidewalks in front of your property and if you can, help a neighbor who might not be able to clear their sidewalks.
Levels of snow & ice service.
In the last 36 hours, our crews have plowed routes at least three times.
Gold snow routes:
These are streets of regional importance for hospitals, buses, large trucks, and major employers. SDOT’s objective is to provide bare and wet pavement over all travel lanes within 12 hours of a significant lull in the storm.
Emerald snow routes:
These are streets of citywide importance for hospitals, buses, and general traffic. SDOT’s objective is to provide bare and wet pavement for one lane in each direction within 12 hours of a significant lull in the storm.
As the snow continues throughout the night, we’d like to thank our city-wide crews.
They’ve been working around the clock in the freezing temperatures since yesterday. As a collective whole, we’d like to send them loads of love, appreciation, and safety as they continue to clear the roadways for our city. Thank you – thank you to our knockout crews! We truly have the best.