Friday, January 20, 2012


Monday and Tuesday of this week the National Weather Service began warning residents of the Northwest region in Washington State of an impending storm due to arrive sometime Tuesday evening and leaving from 4 - 14 inches of snow as it cruises through our area Wednesday. Some areas started to get snow during the day on Tuesday, while others remained dry until later in the evening and early morning hours of Wednesday. The big day was supposed to be Wednesday and it appears to have fallen short of the predictions in most of the area. By Thursday temperatures were to increase significantly and the big storm would give way to flooding.

It did get deep in some areas and while the National Weather Service was enjoying their prediction prowess, Mother Nature threw a curve ball from the Oregon area. Engulfed in cold Arctic air, warm precipitation arrived from the south and met up over the Puget Sound region. On Thursday morning, remember the day everything was supposed to leave, we woke up to ice encrusted vehicles and frozen pellets falling from the sky. By mid-day anything that wasn't moving was covered with a thick, heavy layer of ice. Trees don't do well in ice storms and by early afternoon reports of trees and limbs down was the norm. Power outages began as hundreds of thousands lost power over the region. At one point, they guessed the total to be close to 300,000 with yours truly among the victims.

While I went to work each day, we did close early Wednesday and Thursday to let employees get home safely before it got dark and the temperatures dropped. I was up early today and as I went outside I could hear dripping. Usually a good sign. Things are melting. My car was encrusted in a much thinner layer of ice and I was able to clear it and head for work. The roads are good once you get out of your neighborhood but you have to watch out for fallen branches and the occasionally tree down on tree lined roads. On the freeway you find mostly clear sailing with the only obstacle being snow chains that have broken and ended up in the lane of travel.
I overheard a law officer discussing conditions and issues that he had run into during this two days of traveling the highways and byways. He was very frustrated with the drivers. He feared he might shoot the next guy he found in a ditch with nearly bald tires, claiming that he knows how do drive in the snow and ice, it's all those other guys you have to worry about.

Personally, I have no issues with snow and ice. I have been exceedingly lucky in my commutes over the years and have never missed a day due to weather conditions. That being said, many folks in other parts of the country who get a lot more snow than we do, occasionally look down their noses at us and claim that we are snow wimps. Most of those places are flat. No hills. We have hills, lots of hills.

While I agree that most people from the colder regions would not let something like what just hit us affect the way they do business or live their lives you must consider one thing. While our nasty weather comes but once a year, usually a week or less, the other regions have a real winter that lasts for months. Not only do they have more experience working, playing, and driving in the stuff, their cities and municipalities are more prepared to provide them with the traction they need to get around. I am sure Boston has a whole bunch more snowplows than Seattle. And I have heard of heated runways. We don't have that stuff. Heck, we cancel flights, its easier.
So there you have it. Another winter in Seattle almost gone. Aren't you glad you stopped by.


  1. enjoy the winter wonderland!!! least you have power!!!

  2. The drivers are the same all over, and four wheel drive can get you slid off the road as fast an two wheel drive.The major difference as I see it is the State, County & Local governments in the northeast,upper midwest and Canada invest on a lot of heavy duty plows and dump trucks to clear away and salt with. That kind of stuff is not needed the south and areas like yours where you only get epic snowfalls once every 20 years. Ice storms are another matter and can cripple just about any area with power outages. Now that I am retired I just stay home and watch it from the kitchen window. Be safe out there. Sam & Donna...

  3. WOW, pretty exciting! I lived on the snowline of the Western Slope of the Sierras for many years and just loved the forecast of snow. I worked at home for most of the time, so I'd just grocery shop, stock up, bring in a bunch of wood for the wood stove, and enjoy it. I'm glad you made it through, and seem prepared and comfortable with it.

    You brought back some good memories! :)