SDOT: Seattle streets are ready for potential snow, frozen conditions

Jan 10, 2024, 8:16 PM | Updated: Jan 11, 2024, 3:24 pm

seattle streets snow...

A person shovels snow outside of a business on February 13, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. A large winter storm dropped heavy snow across the region. (Photo: David Ryder/Getty Images)

(Photo: David Ryder/Getty Images)

Western Washington residents need to be prepared for subfreezing temperatures this weekend if snow comes through the lowlands, according to KIRO Newsradio meteorologist Ted Buehner.

If it does snow, Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) spokesperson Ethan Bergerson said the city is ready.

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“SDOT prepares for winter storms year round,” Bergerson told KIRO Newsradio. “We’ve had recent training exercises, for example, to make sure that our snowplow drivers are ready. And we are always paying close attention to the weather reports. And so when we get the possibility of freezing temperatures or snow, we start getting our crews ready to respond to that.”

Meteorologists haven’t been able to confirm whether snow will fall upon the Puget Sound region as two weather models are displaying contradicting information. The U.S. model has snow moving into parts of Western Washington on Friday afternoon and evening.

Meanwhile, the European Center model sees precipitation moving to the south towards Portland, leaving the Puget Sound region and Northwest Washington snow-free.

Either way, Bergerson made it clear that the city has many streets to plow.

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“We have over 1,000 miles of the most critical streets that we’ve identified where we prioritize our snow plow routes,” Bergerson said. “That includes the ramps that are necessary to get to emergency services and essential ramps for freight in buses. That’s planned in advance. And once it starts snowing, our goal is to make sure that we keep those roads cleared within 12 hours of a break of the storm.”

Whether snow falls this week or not, we do know temperatures will drop to below freezing. Starting Thursday, the nightly low temperatures range as low as 19 degrees on Friday to as high as 23 degrees on Monday before jumping back to the 30s on Tuesday.

Bergerson and SDOT’s message to drivers is to make smart choices when going out in freezing temperatures.

“The first thing you should ask yourself is do you really have to drive? Is this a trip that you can avoid taking or that you’ve got another way of traveling?” Bergerson said. “That’s really the safest thing to do.”

More on dangerous driving: Semi-truck collides with passenger car on Blewett Pass

Amid upcoming road clearings, Bergerson said homeowners and business owners will have to clear their sidewalks. If they fail to do so, they could have a hefty fine of up to $250, but city staff for Seattle have been encouraged to focus on education over citations. Bergerson said staff will visit mostly business areas to hand out informational pamphlets reminding everyone about safety and how clearing the sidewalks helps everyone — including people with disabilities and seniors.

Head to SDOT’s website for more information.

You can read more of Micki Gamez’s stories here. Follow Micki on X, formerly known as Twitter, or email her here.

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SDOT: Seattle streets are ready for potential snow, frozen conditions