Image from Slog

Weather expert Cliff Mass prognosticates, with some lighthearted political advice:

It also turns out that there is a greater probability of lowland snow west of the Cascades during La Nina years. Now, if Seattle’s Mayor McGinn knows whats good for him he would be sharpening those snow plow blades, securing lots of sand and SALT, establishing rational plans for plowing the city, and telling all snow plow operators to avoid his neighborhood. We lost one Mayor to snowappocalypse [sic], two would be an embarrassment. I offered to build a SNOWWATCH web page for the city…no bites yet.

If you’re a renter, it might be a good year to seek some housing near either a freeway station or light rail station, or at least on flat ground. The switch heaters that went in this spring, combined with running trains all night to prevent accumulation, should keep the trains running in the event of another snowpocalypse.

On the other hand, Metro put a lot of energy into revising their snow procedures, so perhaps we’ll all be alright.

26 Replies to “Weather Report”

  1. Then again, the Most Magical Night in Seattle History ™ was made possible by the snow. Ben was there, too! In an Ikea bag sled! And I saw stranger staffers, too. So it wasn’t all that bad.

  2. With the way it didnt really snow this past year i wont be surprised if it snows as bad as the Snowpocalypse of 2008

    1. Yeah… except when I’m at a bus stop and there’s a nice little snow mound (and I know it’s not your, or any other bus operator’s, fault – which is why I don’t complain)

      1. :) Point taken. Wheelchairs don’t mix well with snow. I also hate having to drop people off in the middle of the street where it’s slushy. If we get too far off the street, we get stuck, and that’s no fun for anybody.

  3. If this region had a light-rail network, then a sudden snowfall would be such a big deal as rail can operate during any weather. I heard this from about five people today: “Seattle’s transportation is still in the Stone Age.” I’ll be dead before this city has an efficient network.

    1. You might be dead before this city’s transportation network is at the best level of service for its population. But it’s important that before you die you contribute to making that future a reality. Enough people must make their voices heard for awareness to snowball and progress to accelerate. Nothing’s going to get done if everyone sits around whining about nothing getting done.

  4. If you are a car owner, it also might be a good time to buy some snow chains. I don’t understand why Seattleites stubbornly refuse to use chains, they’re cheap and they work really well. Maybe the city should have a chain education program. (They could explain when to use them, how to put them on, and explain that you probably still need them even if you have 4 wheel drive.) Or even better, just require chains during snow storms.

  5. Fortunately Pine Street is pretty flat to walk on in the snow all the way from Pike Place to 14th.

    1. East of 14th, though, the #11 (and most other routes) did not runfor about 10 days because of street conditions.

    2. Yes, at 14th I think you’d turn right and go to Madison, and that would take you to 23rd.

      Going north-south, MLK seems to be the flattest through the CD and southeast Seattle.

      I also remember walking from Northgate to the U-district on 5th Ave NE without much trouble, and on Eastlake from downtown to UW.

      Are there any other flattish streets people would recommend when it snows?

    1. It was actually just one guy, working the better part of the past year and a half to perfect this snow manual. Metro supervisor/KSS Scheduler Jayson Peterson. Big props to him for getting this completed and implemented before Winter.

  6. I’m trying to decide if I want to invest in snow tires for my bike. $200 for tires I’ll use a few times a year? Sounds crazy, but they’d probably last for twenty years. Otherwise, I guess I could get up at four in the morning to give myself time to walk my bike up 10th…

    1. Even on flat areas I hate biking in the snow. The snow turns into slush making it impossible to ride without sliding. And if there’s ice on the road it’s even worse, as snow tires couldn’t even help with that.
      I’d walk :)

    2. Well, as long as your up for crazy ideas, try clamping a couple of snowboards to the wheels for downhill. Use a release hook to snag the next Metro bus ‘crawling’ uphill for the return trip. If all this works out, maybe the Cascade Bike Clubbers could invest in some sort of tow ropes.

  7. The Link snow route: same as the clement weather route. The Creator answered my prayer to smite the 194 route after a missed a flight at the front end of Snowpocalypse, due in part to the lack of announcements in the tunnel that the 194 was running on the surface. Thank you, Creator.

  8. Let me play the contrarian and point out that salt is the death knell for street skiing. Whatever happened to fun, Cliff?!

  9. A forty-foot bus, diesel or electric, can go like a tractor with the back wheels chained. And the South Lake Union streetcar could have kept running snow and all if the city’s trucks hadn’t plowed under the switch near Fred Hutch ’til it broke.

    With a few supervisors with hand-signals, the I-5 Express Lanes could become a two-way busway from Convention Place to the U-District and Northgate. Probably wouldn’t need much plowing- with service every few minutes, the tires would keep lanes clear.

    Main thing that takes down transit in snow conditions is stalled and crashed cars in the way of buses. STB is good on statistics. Anybody want to analyze what it would cost for either the state or the city to declare a “no drive” emergency, when only transit and emergency vehicles are allowed on the streets?

    If the State wrote a check for lost wages to every person and business who suffered because people couldn’t drive private cars to work, I think it might very well cost less money than what happens every time it snows around Seattle.

    Also, in these tight budgetary times, King County Metro Transit might want to look at last snowstorm’s records and add up the cost in drivers’ wages alone for the westbound trolleybuses waiting at Wallingford Center long after the Market Street Hill was passable- because Control Center couldn’t tell anybody the road was clear.

    Based on personal transit driving and riding experience with winters past, problem precedes the King County merger- it’s like it’s traditional for transit communications to fall apart with the first snow-flake. Maybe I’m wrong, but I doubt this is so much a cost item as a habit of mind that a problem that only happens a few times a year isn’t worth the effort to fix.

    Fix that mentality, and a lot of things will improve all year round- including the budget.

    Mark Dublin

    1. Or you can say, it’s those midwesterners and northeasterners who cause most of the accidents because the snow isn’t packed solid here, it’s layered over unstable ice.

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