Freeway Skating Rink in Seattle

Seattle Ice

Photo from KomoTV News

Can you believe that this was a common scene on the highways around Seattle today? The snowstorm that hit yesterday evening left several inches of snow around the sound and coated the roads and freeways in a thick sheet of ice. Commuters heading home from work in rush hour yesterday were stuck in the storm. The commute for some took well over 6 hours and many drivers gave up and abandoned their cars for the night. What was so bad about this storm was not the snow accumulations, which were relatively modest, but the icing. Large trucks were even sliding and one person from Montana commented that he doesn’t see icing that bad even in Montana. The severity of the icing was completely unexpected and highway crews were not adequately prepared. Furthermore, once traffic became snarled, crews could not even access the roads to apply the de-icer.

Unfortunately, the lack of preparation has played out in Seattle before. This is mostly due to the fact that snow is not a common occurrence in Western Washington, when it does happen it’s very hard to predict where and how much, and the hilly terrain makes it extra difficult to navigate. Nonetheless, the crews across the Canadian border seem to have a better handle on snow/ice situations. In past experiences, roads have been great in Vancouver, BC, but horrendous on the Washington side of the border. I guess the Canadians just know how to deal with snow.

The high temperature today at Sea-Tac airport was only 27 degrees and it is forecasted to drop to the mid-teens tonight!! This may be common for Fargo, North Dakota, but not Seattle! It is already 17 degrees at my house in Sammamish at 11:30 pm and it will probably dip into the low-teens by the early morning hours (btw, I am not at home, but I live through this storm vicariously through my mom šŸ™‚

After another cold one tomorrow, some more snow is expected tomorrow night before the typical Pacific air moves back in and changes it over to the familiar light rains for Friday. This will close out a historical November and wouldn’t you know, the first week-plus of December looks very quite with no strong storms in sight.


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