Capitol Hill #seasnow | Seattle prepares for (less!) epic 2012 snowstorm

(Image: Chat Noir Photographie via Flickr

We’re on track to experience a significant Seattle snowstorm with what could be one of the biggest snowfall totals in nearly 30 years. More than a foot of snow is possible for the Seattle area in the next two days — conditions that will only add to the layers of snow and ice already encapsulating the sidewalks and side streets of Capitol Hill. It starts with a Tuesday when many people will be trying to get back to work and schools will be open — though Seattle Public Schools will start two hours late to allow for extra travel time. Piecing together the predictions, here’s a loose schedule of what’s expected to happen, when.

  • Tuesday morning: Freezing temperatures and more snow around Seattle with 1 to 3 inches forecast. The morning commute could be a challenge. Travel notes below.
  • Tuesday afternoon: The calm before the storm. A little warmer with low likelihood of precipitation.
  • Tuesday night: “a couple of inches”
  • Wednesday: 4 to 6 inches
  • Wednesday night: more snow but not quite as crazy as first predicted — UPDATE: And Cliff Mass is “scaling back” the forecast even more…
  • Thursday: Um, yeah. More snow

If you see other interpretations of the information flowing out there right now, let us know in comments. The Tuesday open thread is below.


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  • Here’s the latest from Metro:
  • On Tuesday, January 17, King County Metro Transit is remaining on snow routing countywide, and will continue to do so until further notice. Routes 38, 45, 46 and 219 are canceled on Tuesday, and until further notice. All other service will operate via snow routing with schedule delays likely.

    In addition to its Tuesday plan, Metro is monitoring the forecast for a possible major Winter storm overnight Tuesday that could drop several inches of snow over its King County service area by Wednesday morning. Metro will notify customers as early as possible about plans should this occur. Until we know what’s going to happen, Metro riders are encouraged to visit the Snow & Ice page and learn about Metro’s plan for an ‘Emergency Service Network‘ that might be used in the event of the most severe conditions.

  • Maximo, 700 Broadway resident, is prepared. Thanks to Jeff for the picture.

    City Hall, meanwhile, is busy activating its Emergency Operations Center:

  • The Seattle Department of Transportation will have crews working through the night to maintain snow routes in good condition and address any trouble spots that develop. Crews will be utilizing salt and salt-brine on city streets to prepare them for Tuesday morning’s commute.

    With weather forecasts predicting significant accumulations of snow in Seattle, Mayor Mike McGinn urged residents to be prepared for a series of winter storms over the next few days. The National Weather Service predicts lowland areas, including Seattle, could get three to seven inches of snow through Tuesday morning. They are also forecasting the possibility of another six to 12 inches of snow over the lowlands on Wednesday.

    The City of Seattle also recommends that residents:

    · Consider options now for travel, staying off the roads if possible.

    · Move cars off streets, if possible, to aid with snow removal.

    · Check on neighbors, especially the vulnerable.

    · Wrap pipes and outdoor faucets to prevent ruptured pipes and flooding inside homes.

    · Turn faucets to a slow drip to prevent pipes from freezing.

    · Be careful how they choose to heat or light their homes. Open flames and unattended candles are dangerous. Do not bring open stoves or gas grills inside as the fumes can be poisonous and deadly.

    · Find and clear street storm drains. Snow followed by rain can clog drains and cause flooding.

    · Have coats, hats, gloves and blankets at hand to stay warm during possible power outages.

    · Bring pets indoors.

    · Only call 911 in a life-threatening emergency.

    Businesses and residents are reminded to keep their sidewalks clear to help pedestrians walk safely. Pedestrians should be cautious on snow or ice covered surfaces.

  • The weather people:

THE BIG STORY IS DEFINITELY HEAVY SNOW ON WEDNESDAY. WITH COLD AIR    IN PLACE OVER WESTERN WASHINGTON…A WARM OVERRUNNING SYSTEM WILL    SPREAD SNOW NORTH OVER EVENTUALLY ALL AREAS. THE AMOUNTS SHOULD BE    IMPRESSIVE. A COUPLE OF INCHES COULD FALL LATE TUESDAY NIGHT…    ANOTHER 4-6 INCHES COULD FALL WEDNESDAY…AND A FEW MORE INCHES    COULD FALL WEDNESDAY NIGHT. more…

And…

I just looked at the latest model runs and it seems clear that we are going to have a major snowstorm, one that is NOT followed by major warming and heavy rain.  No Slushmageddon, just Snowmageddon.  Near all modeling systems are taking the low south of us–thus the uncertainty is considerably less than a day or two ago.  (But to be fair, there is always a small chance that all the solutions we have are wrong!)  more…

And…

“It will be snowing everywhere on Wednesday. Not showers, but heavy, widespread snowfall all day,” said Chris Burke of the National Weather Service.

If Wednesday’s snowfall hits at the high end of the forecast range, it would be the biggest single-day snowfall in Seattle since 14.9 inches fell on Jan. 27, 1969, Burke said. The area also had more than 14 inches of snow in November 1985, but it fell over two successive storms. more…

  • Things on the 911 end of things were mostly quiet Monday. Fire responses were mostly medic callouts — lots of hurt backs and a few broken legs from slips. There was a callout for a downed wire that set some shrubbery on fire near 16th and Union. Other than that, a mostly quiet day for Seattle Fire and SPD — though SPD has had its hands full dealing with car wrecks and spinouts on side streets. We broadcast information frequently via Twitter so check out the @jseattle stream for information through the day.
  • If you are planning to drive, you can check out the latest de-icing and clearing work on the city’s new winter weather map. Red routes have been recently plowed and salted. Click for latest updates.
  • The CHS Capitol Hill traffic cam page is here.
  • PDF maps of priority snow routes for the city are here.
  • Monday’s coverage | Sunday’s coverage

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