LOCAL NEWS

Seattle-area sets mark for longest snowy period in 52 years

Dec 31, 2021, 9:20 AM | Updated: 4:09 pm
Snow covers the entire state of Washington as captured by the NASA MODIS satellite via National Wea...
Snow covers the entire state of Washington as captured by the NASA MODIS satellite via National Weather Service in Seattle. (NASA MODIS satellite)
(NASA MODIS satellite)

The Puget Sound region’s last gasp of snow this week fell Thursday night, with temperatures finally set to warm into the high 30s and low 40s by the weekend.

According to the National Weather Service, Thursday marked the fifth straight day with measurable snow at Sea-Tac Airport, marking the longest such streak since 1969, and the seventh longest streak since records began in 1945.

The great melt

After a New Year’s Eve in the upper teens, a “warm front” moves through on Saturday and a chance of rain starts Sunday.

“As we get into Saturday, we’ll start to noticeably warm through the day so it is going to be cool as we begin the weekend — Saturday morning still looks pretty chilly,” Carly Kovacik, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, told KIRO Radio. “But as we go through the day, Saturday will actually warm back up toward 40.”

Check the traffic cams
Mountain pass webcams

As local meteorologist Michael Snyder pointed out to KIRO Radio’s Charlie Harger earlier in the week, this run of frigid weather is far from ordinary.

“It’s pretty unusual — the last time we were in the mid-teens was 2010,” Snyder noted.

According to the National Weather Service, record low temperatures for Dec. 26 were set at Sea-Tac Airport, Quillayute, Bellingham, and Hoquiam. On Monday, temperatures in the Seattle area dipped down to 17 degrees Fahrenheit, marking the coldest day since November 2010.

Seattle’s high of 23 degrees Monday was the city’s coldest day in 31 years, according to the National Weather Service.

Travel and transportation

Freeways across the region have been continuously treated with anti-icer to “reduce snow and ice build-up as much as possible,” according to the Washington State Department of Transportation. And while salting roads can help remove layers of ice and snow, “salt isn’t effective once temperatures drop to about 15-20 degrees.”

WSDOT crews have also been plowing high-priority highways 24/7.

“Our goal in plowing is to make at least some lanes passable on as many state routes as possible,” WSDOT said on Twitter. “We work off of our priority maps, so the highest-traveled routes will receive the most attention.”

You can monitor Seattle roads that have been cleared of snow and ice at this link.

For those looking to use public transit, King County Metro will remain on a limited schedule with their focus on 60 so-called “core” bus routes prioritized for snow and ice removal.

At Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, delays have persisted throughout the week. In total, the airport said almost 1,500 flights were canceled in December, with 80% of them in the final four days of the month.

Find snow plow routes in King County
Snow plow routes in Snohomish County
Snow plow routes in Pierce County

Emergency in Seattle

A number of day centers and warming centers are open across the city. Find a list here.

Seattle Public Utilities has suspended much of its garbage pick up until after the new year, citing “icy and unsafe conditions on many residential streets and hills, along with potential additional snow.

Find an update on city operations and the winter weather response in Seattle here.

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Seattle-area sets mark for longest snowy period in 52 years