1st-Hand Eyewitness Account: Snowplow Activity In Burien!

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As we were returning (slowly of course) on Sylvester Road from an all-day excursion to the eastside, we were nearly run off the road by an approaching large truck-like vehicle in the opposite lane.

Turns out it was a snowplow.

An actual snowplow.

Plowing the snow.

In Brrrien!

As you may recall from a report we did on Thursday (Dec. 18th), several Burien-area residents were upset enough with the previous lack of city snowplowing and road care that they posted numerous rants on Craigslist.

Speaking of Mr. Plow, the City of Seattle sends us this press release about their road-clearing efforts, which we’ve truncated here:

At a briefing this evening at the Emergency Operations Center, Mayor Greg Nickels announced that a fleet of 27 snow plows are clearing Seattle roads and seven utility repair crews stand ready to respond as a winter storm hits the region.

The city of Seattle activated its Emergency Operations Center at 2 pm on Saturday, coordinating responses by the Department of Transportation, Seattle City Light, Seattle Public Utilities, Human Services, Police, Fire and Parks departments.

Snow and ice removal crews will continue clearing arterial roads through the night. Road conditions may become icy tonight as temperatures drop. Two trucks will be dedicated to the West Seattle Bridge and the Alaskan Way Viaduct. The Seattle Department of Transportation is urging residents only to drive if necessary.

A primary concern tonight is expected to be high winds, particular in east King County. At this hour, there are no power outages within the city of Seattle, but City Light is prepared to call in as many crews as needed if conditions change.

Three severe weather shelters remain open at least through Monday night: City Hall, Frye Hotel, and Seattle Center Pavilion B. Shelter beds are still available. Last night, 143 people stayed at the three shelters. During the day, Seattle residents can find warm, public space at Parks Department community centers and the Seattle Center. The following community centers will be open on Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.: Garfield Community Center, Rainier Beach Community Center, South Park Community Center, Rainier Community Center and Hiawatha Community Center.

Seattle’s recycling and garbage transfer stations will be closed tomorrow. Solid waste customers who were missed for pickup today should bring in their containers until next week.

Not to be outdone, the City of Burien issued its own safety alert this afternoon:

SEVERE WEATHER ALERT: Snow & high winds are predicted for today, and Burien residents are urged to be prepared for possible power outages and extreme cold.

The City of Burien is monitoring conditions and will post updated information as it becomes available to the City website (www.burienwa.gov).

All Parks & Recreation programs and facility rentals are canceled. Metro Bus Service is severely impacted.

For complete and up-to-date information regarding this severe storm, visit the National Weather Service website at www.weather.gov/seattle.

Of course we went to the city’s website, expecting to see more detailed info, but alas, the most recent update was from yesterday (Fri. 12/19). Hmmm…

Also, here’s the latest Winter Storm Warning from our friends at the National Weather Service:

A Winter Storm Warning remains in effect until 10 am PST Sunday.

Another round of heavy snow is expected tonight through Sunday morning. Heaviest snow will occur on the Kitsap peninsula… along Hood Canal… and from Olympia and Chehalis west to the central coast near Ocean Shores. 10 to 18 inches of snow is expected close to the Hood Canal. Other locations within this area should get 5 to 12 inches of snow.

Along the I-5 Corridor North of Tacoma… including Seattle and Everett… storm total snowfall of 4 to 8 inches is expected. In general… lighter amounts will occur near the Cascade foothills with heavier amounts farther west along the shores of Puget Sound. Some parts of eastern King County… where wind is a big threat… will receive 1 inch or less of snowfall.

Late tonight into Sunday morning… freezing rain is possible in Grays Harbor County and the lower Chehalis valley. If more precipitation occurs in the form of freezing rain than snow…  then an ice storm would be possible with ice accumulations in excess of one quarter of an inch. Ice storms are capable of causing power lines and large tree branches to snap and cause major travel disruptions.

Precautionary/preparedness actions…

A Winter Storm Warning means significant amounts of snow… sleet… and ice are expected or occurring. Strong winds are also possible. This will make travel very hazardous or impossible.

And the B-Town Blog Weather Rockâ„¢’s first-hand (or rock) report is thus:

  • As of 7pm 12/20, 1-inch of new snow has accumulated since the storm moved in this afternoon. We now have between 5-7 inches of snow here, and growing.
  • The new snow is icier, powdery, and harder to make snowballs and snowpeople with. Dang.
  • This type of icy snow sparkles in the basking glow of the still-functioning street lights. Purdy.
  • The Weather Rockâ„¢ predicts 3-5 inches will fall overnight.
  • The Weather Rockâ„¢ has detected little or no wind. Yet.
  • Our new kerosene heater is still sitting in its box, awaiting emergency use for potential power outages.
  • Some sleet is mixed in with this batch of precipitation – evidenced as it clumped up quickly into freezing messes on the windshield as we drove. Is this a sign of a potential “ice storm” that may be developing? Stay tuned…

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