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Capitol Hill #seasnow | The great ‘scaled back’ storm of 2012

Seattle Snow 2012, originally uploaded by a_ahlstrom.

UPDATE — 1p: Cliff Mass says the snow should be tapering off any minute now. And that’s pretty much it. Some freezing rain/snow/sleet tonight. Warming through Thursday. Rainy Friday to wash the last of it away. So it goes.

UPDATE — 10a: It’s a full blown snow day. Snow showers are expected to continue through the day but things get iffy later so think about going out to explore early if possible. The biggest travel issue is now Metro buses that are having a rough go at locations like Denny and E Olive Way where we have reports of multiple coaches stacking up when one gets stuck. Walking is your best bet. Stay warm. Updates and pictures, below.

Original Report: After a series of forecast revisions, the snow that has been predicted for days has coated Capitol Hill this morning in a crystalline layer of crunchy powder. Roads remain clear at this point though the snow is sticking on many streets — even those treated in preparation for the storm. UPDATE: There is a 1/2 inch at least an inch of snow on many streets. SPD East Precinct is now requiring all patrol vehicles to be chained — you should be, too. Make sure to check out the SDOT priority routes linked below if you are planning to drive. Getting behind the wheel is not advised given the slippery conditions. Those conditions also have Metro on snow routes all day. Meanwhile, schools throughout the city are closed — and those that haven’t announced closures yet likely will soon as we’re predicted to see at least a few inches of snow today. If you can, enjoy your snow day. We’ve included some information on our favorite Hill place to sled — Volunteer Park — below. 

Tell us what you’re seeing via FacebookTwitter, or email — or call/txt (206) 399-5959.

More notes on the forecasts, an updated timeline, and more updates below.

The latest forecast is mostly drama free:

Snow before 4pm, then snow, possibly mixed with rain. High near 30. East wind 10 to 20 mph becoming north. Chance of precipitation is 90%. Total daytime snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible. 

Cliff Mass calls it a “snowstorm of two characters:” 

Over the mountains and over southwest Washington there will be large quantities of snow.  And substantial snow over the eastern slopes of the Cascades.  But over Puget Sound and northwest Washington this will be a very modest affair.

At this point, it seems likely this storm will be remembered more for its series of updated and revised forecasts. Call it transparent meteorology. We’re not complaining — but we probably all need to get used to the idea that with more information, the reality of uncertainty is sometimes laid bare. In other words, it’s exciting to talk about snow in Seattle.

Here’s an update of the predicted timeline:

  • 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: 2 to 4 inches. Snow started falling earlier than expected so could be headed for the upper range.
  • Wednesday night: Less than a 1/2 inch
  • The Bobby Morris bike polo players had to sit this one out Tuesday night (Image: @mailemae)

  • Thursday: More snow mixed with rain.. Less than a 1/2 inch


  • Metro remains on snow routes. Its expected cancellation list is mostly non-Hill related: 2EX*, 38, 42, 45, 46, 51, 53, 79, 114, 161, 162, 175, 192, 193, 197,  205, 210, 215, 216, 219, 224, 237, 251, 268, 277, 316 & 355.
  • SDOT sanders and de-icing trucks have been spotted on the Hill. 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. Here’s a bulletin sent out by SDOT:

A light snow is beginning to fall in south and West Seattle.  As the much anticipated winter storm makes its arrival, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is out in full force ensuring the roadways are safe for travel, especially bus and emergency vehicle routes. Ready for whatever comes, the department has deployed 30 plow trucks for clearing major arterials and four tanker trucks are applying anti-icer to elevated roadways and known trouble spots along the snow route network. Motorists are urged to help out by making way for the snow response trucks.

Live view of Broadway/Roy — All Cams

Live view of Broadway/Pike — All Cams

Live view of Boren/Madison — All Cams

Live view of I-5/Pine — All Cams


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12 thoughts on “Capitol Hill #seasnow | The great ‘scaled back’ storm of 2012

  1. Watching King 5 morning news (the first time watching local news in over a year) and they are reporting from “Capitol Hill” about the snow. What does the street sign say behind the reporter? Madison and MLK, in Madison Valley.

    Did the Capitol Hill anarchist army conquer a new territory and annexe the neighborhood? Have we vanquished our Madison Valley enemies and seized their valuable resources, like the Grand Central Bakery and City People’s?

  2. Saw #8 heading westbound up the (problem) hill to 19th & Thomas at ~ 6:50 AM, exactly as predicted by

    UPDATE: at ~ 9:30 saw two westbound 43’s moving OK and NO westbound #8’s, and no #8’s going either way during walk along #8 route.

    One empty #8 (eastbound, no chains) still stuck at Olive + Denny.

    Bonus: interviewed by KOMO TV at bottom of Denny Way toboggan slide.

  3. Thanks! I was just about to ask if the 8 was skipping any stops along E Madison (I believe they skip a few on MLK on their snow route). May have to hop on later.

  4. Caught my usual bus heading downtown at 15th & Republican at 6:52am this morning. Was pleasantly surprised to see it, though I was prepared to hoof it if need be. Have a feeling I’ll be walking home later, though.

  5. One of the definitions of insanity is doing the same thing over again and expecting different results, like sending buses out at 6 in the morning, only to get stuck on the hills at 8.

  6. Just got back from a 1 hour walk around Capitol Hill, mainly Pike/Pine, Denny, and Olive Way west of 12th.
    Most buses seem to be running, only saw one #8 stuck at Olive + Denny. Saw the 43 running fine, 10, 11, a different #8, and a 49 I think. Most buses are empty though, and the ones that do have people on them only have 3 or 4.