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‘Heavy snow possible’: National Weather Service details next cold blast for Seattle — UPDATE

(Image: Girl Jo via Flickr)

UPDATE 2/8/19 9:45 AM: The predictions are playing out. Seattle is set to be walloped by heavy snow with the biggest push coming sometime after 3 PM and lasting into the night. Forecasts for the Seattle area remain in the 6 inches and up zone with a cold and blustery weekend to follow. A winter storm warning has been issued through Saturday afternoon. Chances of snow continue through next week with highs topping out just above freezing.

Seattle Police say they are adding additional emergency services during the storm with dedicated transport vans to take people to shelters. Services will be available citywide through Wednesday. SPD says to call 911 if you believe someone is cold and in need. The Seattle Times is reporting that a 59-year-old died of exposure at the SoDo light rail station Thursday morning during the freezing temperatures.

PREVIOUS UPDATES: The National Weather Service is predicting five to eight inches of snow starting Friday and another week of freezing temperatures across Seattle.

Heavy snow possible. Total snow accumulations of 5 to 8 inches possible. There remains some uncertainty in the details as a few areas could see a foot of snow while a few other locations may only see 2-4 inches. Windy conditions will develop late Friday night into Saturday with north winds 20 to 35 mph. Temperatures late Friday night through Saturday will fall through the 20s.

The forecast calls for the more serious snow in Seattle to begin falling Friday afternoon and some models show we could get more than a foot in the area. The storm will also be accompanied by heavy winds so get your flashlights ready.

With surface temperatures already low, the snow and ice is expected to build up a little more solidly than normal and more freezing temperatures — and more snow — could mean a long period of frozen parks, streets, and sidewalks across Capitol Hill.

In the meantime, Capitol Hill is thawing out after the last cold blast. SDOT is using the brief respite to tell citizens more about its response to snow and ice — and how you can help keep sidewalks clear.

It’s also a good time to familiarize yourself with the city’s snow and ice routes. SDOT says streets — and sidewalks — along gold and green routes (PDF) will be prioritized for clearing during the storm. The city’s Travelers Map is also a useful link for tracking changing conditions. King County Metro’s snow routes map and updates are here. The FAA’s Sea-Tac status page is here.

Social media is also a useful tool for keeping up to date on the conditions. Here are a few useful Twitter accounts:

You can also check the CHS Street Cams page before you head out. And the CHS Weather page has the latest reports from local observations. See something others should know about? Email CHS or call/txt (206) 399-5959.

The weekend snow blast will be especially challenging for homeless people. In addition to the city’s existing overnight shelters, officials have made extra beds available at the King County Administration Building while a City of Seattle “severe weather shelter” is open overnight at the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall.

UPDATE: Storm cancellations and schedule changes are expected to start rolling in. The first comes from Seattle Public Schools which has announced its campuses will release students 75 minutes early on Friday to beat the brunt of any snowfall. Meanwhile, various sports leagues around the city have begun canceling weekend games and practices.

At 2 PM Friday, Metro says it plans to shift all buses to snow routes “in preparation for worsening travel conditions expected to hit the region.”

UPDATE x2: The National Weather Service advisory is now a “warning” meaning “severe winter weather conditions will make travel very hazardous or impossible.” The latest timeline shows things getting hairy just in time for the evening commute.

UPDATE x3: So, how cold is it on Capitol Hill right now? This cold:

No arrests and no injuries were reported.

UPDATE x4: People have taken the messages about stocking up for the weekend and beyond to heart. Here are a couple scenes from the neighborhood grocery aisles. Yikes!

There will be time for enjoying the storm. King County maps shows the range of elevations across the Hill from 200 feet down in I-5 Shores to 300 feet on Broadway and 400 feet above 12th. The highest point on Capitol Hill, Volunteer Park, at 453 feet above sea level, is #5 on the list of Seattle’s highest elevations. While there are some classic Capitol Hill street runs, the best places to safely sled are these CHS Volunteer Park Sled Runs. If it gets nuts, sledding down Denny is part of Capitol Hill legend. Watch out for moving cars of course but some of the most serious injuries come from hitting parked cars. Be careful.

The coming snow totals could rival some of the biggest single day totals in recent Seattle history. Here’s a look at the largest daily snowfall totals for each year going back to the start of CHS. All totals courtesy


Big Snow Days in CHS History

  • Feb. 22 2018trace — A sunny, slippery Thursday ahead after gentle snowfall on Capitol Hill: Take your time getting around Capitol Hill this morning. Most major streets are clear but sidewalks, stairs, and pretty much everything else is cold and icy after a gentle blanket of snowfall Wednesday night.
  • Feb. 6 20175” — Capitol Hill Super Snow LI open thread: Lots of fun and games for those with time to play Monday. We found a veritable kid winter olympics underway in Volunteer Park.
  • Dec. 9 20161/2” — Return of #seasnow open thread: Capitol Hill pictures, video, etc.Enjoy it while it lasts. Snow fell on Capitol Hill Thursday night in what looks likely to be the heaviest snowfall the area has seen since 2013 — like we reported earlier this week, the low bar is 7/10ths of an inch.
  • 20150” — No snow!
  • 2014 (Image: Tim Durkan)

    Feb. 8 20143” — Saturday night snow on Capitol Hill — UPDATE: Super Snow SundayCapitol Hill enjoyed a casual Saturday night snowfall that barely put a coat across the the neighborhood though things got a little heavier in the north toward Volunteer Park.

  • Dec. 20 20131” — #seasnow 2013: Capitol Hill Seattle snow updatesWhat was already likely to be a quiet Friday before Christmas on Capitol Hill and across the rest of the city is even more muffled — and lovely! — after the predicted blanket of snow did, indeed, settle across the Puget Sound beginning early this morning just before 4 AM.
  • 2010 — Return of the Denny sled run (Image: David Lichterman)

    Jan. 18 20127” — Capitol Hill #seasnow | Snow day pictures + what comes nextThere is still a lot of fun to be had as this snow day becomes a snow night on Capitol Hill. But we’re starting to look ahead at what comes next… It will be a bit of a mess.

  • Jan. 11 20113” — 1/11/11 Snow Commute Open ThreadWith this much forewarning, it’s almost impossible to take the concerns seriously and, yet, latest reports and updates from the City of Seattle indicate that we’re about to get hit by drive-time snow around the Puget Sound.
  • Nov. 22 20102 1/2” — Capitol Hill #snomg Thanksgiving week 2010: Monday night updateIf you told us this morning — #snomg Monday Update –– that we’d be producing a second #snomg update today, we’d have told you about Cliff Mass and sat back comfortably and.. wait.
  • Jan. 4 20093 1/2” — Crap, it’s snowing (& sticking) again on the HillClearly, this is just nature reminding you of Tuesday’s city council session where they’ll be discussing December’s snow and ice craziness.
  • Dec. 21 20088″ — Hanukkah Eve Storm III Open ThreadSomewhere between 4″ and 6″ fell in the Capitol Hill area overnight. Maybe 9″ since it all began.

    2008 (Image: Aghman)

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9 thoughts on “‘Heavy snow possible’: National Weather Service details next cold blast for Seattle — UPDATE

  1. If you’re a property owner and you don’t own a shovel, get one. Then do what responsible citizens do in more snow-prone regions of the country…shovel your sidewalks!

    • It’s not just a socially responsible thing to do, it’s also the law (SMC 15.72) and you can be held liable if somebody slips on the sidewalk outside your house.

      A lot of people don’t realize that, especially since we don’t get snow that often.

    • I shoveled a path after this last snow and that path became by far the most dangerous place to walk due to melt during the day! Personally,I’ll stick to the trampled crunchy snow areas instead.

      • Absolutely. Shovel one side of your sidewalk. People can decide whether snow or pavement is safer. Done it that was way for decades.

      • Trampled snow turns into compacted snow and that takes much longer time to melt. When it’s warmer during the day, the top layer melts and then freezes again at night. Now you have a thick, solid icy mess. Thin layer of icy snow and slush will melt and sublimate far quicker. If you don’t have salt or chemicals, you can always throw sand down to give feet more traction.

        This is why folks who live in big snow country shovel their sidewalks.

  2. QFC Broadway market wasn’t as bad as last night I guess, but produce, meat and dairy were picked clean. The bread was prett sad looking, I just bought some yeast and I’ll make my own.

  3. Safeway on Broadway was ridiculously packed last night. I walked in and walked right back out… we went and grabbed dinner at the Chucks food truck… but it was better this morning and they were restocking the shelves. Milk, eggs, bread, salad greens all available and they were busy restocking lots of things – in fact I got a fresh loaf of Essential Bakery right from the delivery guy :). Weird things were gone – organic cabbages, sweet potatoes, loose onions (I guess the organic produce guy hasn’t made it for a while…), but there weren’t vast areas of empty shelf anywhere.