The National Weather Service is expecting Seattle to receive several extra inches of snow by Tuesday. School districts around Puget Sound have canceled classes for Monday and public transportation remains limited. The House and Senate of the State have canceled all their hearings.
While Seattle continues to dig one of the biggest snowfalls that has hit the city for three decades, Sunday saw the arrival of the first of several storm systems coming from the Pacific during the week to come. Weather aggravates disturbances in public transit and schools.
It's now the snowiest February of all time, thanks to extra flakes dropped at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Sunday night, bringing the total snowfall for the month to 14.1 inches. , according to the National Weather Service. Snow was more abundant at the airport during the last week than during the winter season.
Forecasters expect two other weather systems to reach the Puget Sound area by Tuesday, spilling up to 6 to 8 inches of extra snow in downtown Seattle.
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The winter climate of Puget Sound is often on the borderline of rain and snow, but it is rare that all the necessary ingredients converge. This is what is happening now and what happened during the last major snowfall in Seattle in 2012. This storm brought 7.1 inches of snow to Sea-Tac Airport. We reached a total of 10.6 inches last week.
"The cause is an east-northeast wind bringing in fresh air from Canada, a bit of lift and moisture off the Pacific, as well as a Great trough (an extended area of low atmospheric pressure) all over the Pacific Northwest at the present time, "said Jeff Michalski, an NWS meteorologist in Seattle, said Sunday in a phone interview. "To make the situation even more complex, we could have interactions with mountains, some areas of convergence. It is possible that we do not receive uniform totals of snow in the region. Some places could be hammered, and others could see a lot less. "
School districts around Puget Sound have canceled classes and public transportation is still limited before the arrival of potentially significant snowfall Monday. The House and Senate of the State have canceled all their hearings for the day.
At 7 pm, the first wave of snow was underway in Seattle. The system is expected to bring up to 2 inches of snow to downtown, said Jacob DeFlitch, another NWS meteorologist. Further north, along the Interstate 5 corridor, Everett and surrounding communities can receive up to 4 inches of extra snow. The low temperatures in the Seattle area tonight will plunge into the first 20 minutes, with wind chill for teens.
"Do not neglect this first system," said DeFlitch. "But the second will come on his heels and seems more substantial. Between them, there is not much time to lose. "
The second system is expected to arrive Monday and could drop 6 to 8 inches in downtown Seattle by Tuesday morning, with the possibility of a slightly warmer air bringing melted snow or even a little rain.
"Everything is in the cards right now," said DeFlitch. "It depends on how the system follows. We still have details to settle.
King County Metro announced it would only operate 60 main roads until at least Tuesday. To see the The King County Blog and the Seattle Weather Weather Map for updated transit and traffic information. According to Jeff Switzer, a spokesman for the Metro, mobile phone applications that track bus movements may not be reliable, as they may indicate routes that are not being operated as part of Metro's Snow Plan. .
All Sounder trains going from north to south are scheduled for Monday, but passengers should expect delays, Sound Transit said.
Teams from the Seattle Department of Transportation, outside and at the agency's nerve center, work shift day and night to keep the roads as clear as possible. SDOT spokesperson Dawn Schellenberg said their top priorities were the downtown roads, the main arteries, such as Aurora Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Way, as well as the streets leading to hospitals.
"It seems to be fine now," Schellenberg said. "But we do not want to be too arrogant. It's just a race between us and the snow to beat Mother Nature. "
She asked the public to help the SDOT by minimizing driving, slowing it down and obeying road closure signs.
"People say," I think I could do that, "but we do not want you to get stuck, hurt, or run into another person's vehicle or house."
Schellenberg also acknowledged public frustration at the fact that more sidewalks were not cleared. The foot crews of the SDOT are focusing on the overpasses, which freeze more quickly, and the bus stops, she said.
The main highways were open Sunday afternoon, but the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) urges people to drive as though the roads were covered with ice.
"It may not look bad, but there are still some tough spots and we still have some snowstorms ahead," said Lisa Van Cise, a WSDOT spokesperson. . Drivers have hit four snow plows in the past few days, knocking them out of service until they can be repaired. "I-5 may not look bad, but there are less traveled roads with snow and ice. It is important to know what you are getting into before you leave. "
"We have everyone on the bridge for several days now with 12 hour lifts," Van Cise said. "I was born and grew up here. we do not often have that kind of system. This is one for books. "
Sunday afternoon, the runways of the Sea-Tac airport were wet and clear. At 1800 hours, 198 flights had been delayed and 134 had been canceled, according to the FlightAware Flight Tracking website.
Alaska Airlines spokeswoman Ann Johnson said some flights had been canceled early, clear the schedule so that the remaining flights can leave at the time.
About 10,800 customers of Puget Sound Energy (PSE) were without electricity Sunday night, with the majority of the 254 outages concentrated in Olympia and South Sound. Seattle City Light reported scattered power outages in the west of Seattle, southern Seattle and Madrona.
"We have more than 90 crews working today and we will work all night to restore power to everyone," said Andrew Padula of PSE. "We also have problems in Whatcom County, parts of Kitsap County and Vashon Island. It's not as bad as the Christmas storm, which had more than 100,000 people without electricity at its peak, but we will work all night long. "
Seattle's public schools will be closed Monday because of the weather. The other districts that announced their closures on Monday are: Auburn, Bainbridge Island, Bellevue, Edmonds, Federal Way, Highline, Mercer Island, Olympia, Shoreline, Tacoma and Vashon Island. Check out the local school district websites for more details.
The University of Washington has announced that it will suspend its operations on campus on Monday. Other schools that cancel courses include Evergreen State College, Pacific Lutheran University, Seattle University, Seattle Central Community College, and Shoreline Community College at Puget Sound University.
"It's difficult," said Noah Fay, director of housing programs at the Downtown Emergency Services Center (DESC). "Demand is up sharply. We make an extra effort to get out of the building, looking for people sleeping in the doors. "
Several emergency shelters will remain open until Sunday evening and beyond, and most still have room for those who need a place to stay, said Jason Johnson, director by Seattle Department of Human Services.
The Seattle Center Exhibition Hall weatherproof shelter has reached its home capacity with 184 people Saturday night, and some will be taken to other shelters where there is more space for the Sunday night.
The city has opened the Garfield Community Center as a shelter for adults, families with children and people living in vehicles. The center can accommodate up to 140 people and 56 people stayed there Saturday night, Johnson said. The facilities will be open 24 hours a day until Tuesday.
Johnson added that there was also room in the Seattle City Hall shelters, King County Administration Building and Day Center at Fourth Avenue and Jefferson Street. Mary's Place will maintain its shelter 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in the coming week. Families with children and pets can go to 312 Dexter Ave. N. or call the family admission line at 206-245-1026.
The navigation team carried out checks on homeless people and helped more than 50 people get to a place inside Saturday night. The team had planned to work until midnight Sunday to help more people move to a shelter.
City staff also contacted clients for services for seniors and persons with disabilities who are homebound or have mobility issues and who may need additional help during the storm, said Johnson.
Fay added that people looking for resources, for themselves or for others, should call 211, King County Crisis Line, for the most up-to-date information.
"It's just about the most difficult time for people in crisis," Fay added. "We are doing just what we can. If people stay outside by this time, they will die. "
This story will be updated throughout the day with information on traffic, school closures and power outages as they become available.