Snohomish County declares state of emergency ahead of weekend snow

Feb 5, 2019, 5:51 AM | Updated: Feb 7, 2019, 5:18 pm


Snow plows on Aurora. (Seattle DOT)

(Seattle DOT)

After recovering from an icy blow last weekend, another round of snow is expected to strike Washington over Friday and Saturday. Ahead of the weekend snow, Snohomish County declared a State of Emergency, effective Friday, Feb. 8 at 8 a.m.

RELATED: Why Northwest snow can be the harder to drive in
PHOTOS: Snow blankets Western Washington

“The safety of our residents is always our highest priority,” said Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers in a news release. “We’d much rather be prepared and not have a major event than the alternative. The storms headed this way have the potential to create terrible road conditions and power outages. I’d ask our neighbors to prepare now and make sure they have enough supplies to last for the duration of the storms.”

County officials advise residents to get grocery shopping done ahead of time, top off gas tanks, protect pets from the cold, and check on elderly neighbors with special needs.

Snohomish County Road Maintenance crews will be fully staffed around the clock when the snow arrives, working 12-hour shifts plowing roads and salting roads. Up to 40 plows are scheduled to be working on unincorporated roads at any given time.

“It’s a good idea to plan to stay home,” Snohomish County Emergency Management Director Jason Biermann said. “The snow is likely to stick around. Give yourself a break from dangerous conditions.”

Additionally, schools throughout the Puget Sound area have already called for early school dismissals on Friday of up to three hours.

Check for information on school closings here

Snow specifics

“Most of the snow is going to be during the day, especially the afternoon hours of (Friday),” said Logan Johnson with the National Weather Service in Seattle.

“In general, a lot of the area is probably going to be seeing a 5-8 inch snowfall total,” he said. “The heaviest, most favored areas are looking to be toward Bremerton, or Island County, or the eastern side of the Olympic Peninsula.”

The snow will likely arrive Friday afternoon as temperatures drop into the 20s. Snowfall is expected to taper off by Saturday afternoon. Up to 8 inches of snow are possible in many areas. The NWS cautions, “as we saw with the last storm, it doesn’t take much to wreak havoc on the roadways.”


On top of the new snow, heavy wind is also expected. Whatcom County will get the strongest winds of up to 60 mph. Other areas, such as Seattle, Everett, Tacoma, or Bremerton could experience 20-35 mph winds.

Snowfall is likely to peak in intensity Saturday morning, with chances for snow at the highest in Hood Canal, areas along the east slopes of the Olympics, lowlands of Whatcom, Skagit, San Juan counties, and mountain passes. In an impact report, NWS noted that “this system is even more complex than the last,” and that “snowfall totals will be less uniform than the previous system.” Because of that, there’s a chance that precipitation could start as rain before eventually shifting to snow in many areas.

The weather service goes on to warn of another system from Sunday night into Monday, and even possibly Tuesday. That all being so, both the timing and intensity for all of this is very much up in the air, both literally and figuratively.


Preparing for the snow storm

KIRO 7 reports that snow supplies are running out at Western Washington stores. Products like shovels and deicer have flown off the shelves. As KIRO 7’s Gary Horcher reports, “Some local hardware store shelves are bare and in some places, the entire next shipment is already being reserved by hundreds of customers.”

New shipments of deicing products are expected around Thursday, but they won’t likely last long. Most stores expect deicer to be sold before going on the shelves.

School closings in the region
Check Seattle’s snow plow map

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Snohomish County declares state of emergency ahead of weekend snow