Snow & Ice in Seattle – It Takes a City!

Yep! We’re in for more snow.

Snow in Seattle – it doesn’t happen often, but when it does (“Yaaay – snow days!” said all the kids in Seattle), it can impact our transportation system and the way we all get around. In Seattle, some winters bring heavy snowfall and other years see no snow accumulation at all.

What’s up with our weather?

A weather phenomenon called the Puget Sound Convergence Zone causes some parts of the city to get inches of snow, while other parts get rain or even sun.

Visit the National Weather Service for the latest forecasts. Also, a heads up – cold temperatures and more snow are in the forecast for the rest of this week.

We might see more snow showers persisting through Monday with a 10-percent chance of snow Thursday evening, increasing to 50 percent chance Friday day with new snow accumulation of less than 1/2 inch.

We’re committed to working hard for you!

When winter weather brings precipitation and freezing temperatures, our teams go on high alert. We commit to using all the tools possible to make sure the people of Seattle and our interagency partners are fully informed and involved in our snow response. If you’re curious about the work our crews have accomplished during this year’s winter weather like how:

  • We’ve developed a snow and ice response plan that’s made for Seattle’s weather to keep major streets open and passable to the greatest extent possible.
  • We plow major streets, which are the most important for getting to major institutions such as hospitals and schools; police, fire trucks, and buses; and streets leading to Seattle’s major employers. Read up on it in our recent blog post.
  • We work together with King County Metro to keep bus routes as clear of snow and ice as possible. The goal is to enable people to get around the city by bus, making it easier to leave your cars at home. Learn more on King County Metro’s Winter Weather page.

It takes a village city!

It really does take a city to help clear the way of snow and ice. Although we wish we can be omnipresent at all times, we rely on businesses and residents across Seattle to keep their sidewalks clear of snow and ice to make sure people can travel on sidewalks safely. If you can, please help a neighbor who might not be able to clear their sidewalks. Clearing snow before it turns to ice is best, and having a bag of street salt on hand is a good winter-preparedness move.

 Title 15 of the Seattle Municipal Code calls on property owners and contractors to clear, clean, or repair the public right-of-way adjacent to their property.

Caring for sidewalks and other rights-of-way (ROW) next to private property is the responsibility of the property owner or contractor working at the adjacent job site. More information on property owners’ responsibilities can be found on our website.

 

Access for people walking and biking is a priority for us.

What about sidewalks on bridges, bike lanes, or other areas where there’s not an adjacent property owner?

Access for people walking and biking is a priority for us during our winter weather response efforts. Our crews will monitor and identify bike lanes and sidewalks on gold and emerald routes to ensure they are clear as providing access for emergency responders and freight and transit are our primary access. Other priorities include sidewalks and paths across bridges and bike lanes leading to and through downtown.

Let us know!

While our crews are out plowing, salting, and patrolling the city (around the clock) to identify trouble spots and treat them, if you’re noticing sidewalks on bridges, bike lanes, or other streets that need a bit of attention, please let us know through the Find It, Fix It app, by emailing 684-ROAD@seattle.gov, or by calling 206.684.ROAD.

We’ll let our crews know as they continue to patrol the city, and they’ll work to identify priority locations to get them addressed in a timely manner. We appreciate your patience as our crews perform this work across the city – it’s a big job!

Read more about SDOT’s Winter Weather Response here.