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.

Local News

Demonstrators march through downtown following a rally in support of abortion rights on May 3, 2022...
MyNorthwest Staff

Thousands protest throughout Seattle over abortion rights

Protestors congregated at the downtown Federal Building at Marion Street and Second Avenue, led by the Democratic Socialists of America.
2 days ago
(KIRO 7)...
Jordan Duncan

Capitol Hill Pride to move forward with event despite lack of traffic control from SPD

The march is not being permitted because the Seattle Police Department has declined to provide traffic control, citing low staffing levels.
2 days ago
(KIRO 7)...
Shawn Garrett

Get up to $250 in Visa gift cards at Kirkland police’s gun exchange event

A program to exchange guns for gift cards will be hosted by the Kirkland Police Department on Saturday, according to a media release. The event will be held June 25 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Kirkland Justice Center, located at 11750 Northeast 118th Street. “Kirkland experienced six gun-related suicides since 2020,” said […]
2 days ago
Photo by Elena Di Vincenzo...
MyNorthwest Staff

King County prepares for possibility of another killer heat wave

King County has put together an Extreme Heat Mitigation Strategy to prepare for the rising temperatures set to start this weekend.
2 days ago
Photo by Lindsey Wasson...
Micki Gamez

Seattle is no longer the #1 bike friendly city in the nation

Even though Seattle was knocked off its pedestal, we are still one of the top ten bike-friendly cities in the nation.
2 days ago
Photo from @SeattleSBWU on Twitter...
Logan Gilbert

Starbucks workers go on strike over ‘union busting activity’

Starbucks workers announced they are going on strike today over the treatment of fellow workers.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Seattle-area sets mark for longest snowy period in 52 years