Mike McGinn (former Mayor)
SUBJECT: National Weather Service issues ice storm warning until noon
1/19/2012 7:55:00 AM
Customer Service Bureau (206) 684-2489
National Weather Service issues ice storm warning until noon
Residents strongly discouraged from travelling until conditions improve
With the National Weather Service (NWS) issuing an ice storm warning for the Seattle area, residents are strongly discouraged from travelling until conditions improve. A thin sheen of ice creates danger for vehicles and pedestrians. The Seattle Emergency Operations Center is fully activated and monitoring the situation.
According to the NWS, an ice storm warning means “severe weather conditions are imminent or occurring. Significant amounts of ice accumulation will make travel dangerous or impossible. Travel is strongly discouraged…Ice accumulations will likely lead to snapped power lines and falling tree branches that add to the danger.”
On traffic cameras, television or from your window, streets may appear bare and wet but they may still be covered with ice. The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) continues to treat major arterial roads with salt brine and granular salt. Some secondary or neighborhood streets are very slick and changes in conditions between treated and untreated roadways can be very sudden. Four wheel drive is not a solution – vehicles need chains to have traction. Keeping the roads clear of traffic is extremely helpful for emergency vehicles.
Many sidewalks are icy. Pedestrians should use caution while walking and crossing streets. It is the responsibility of property owners to keep their sidewalks clear of ice to protect pedestrian safety. SDOT is dispatching 22 crews to activate the Pedestrian Safety Element of the Winter Response plan to clear and salt pedestrian landings, crossings, and intersections.
Icy conditions also impact trees and power lines. Seattle City Light (SCL) is monitoring the situation. If you experience a power outage please call SCL’s Outage Hotline at 206-684-7400. If you see a downed power line, call 911 to report it. Do not handle a downed power line or attempt to move it out of the way. Electricity can travel along the ground, so maintain a significant distance. If a broken power line should fall on your vehicle, stay inside the vehicle. Use your cell phone to call for help. If someone makes contact with a downed power line, don't try to rescue them because you risk becoming a victim yourself. Call 911 for help. SCL’s power outage map is available at: http://seattle.gov/light/sysstat/. You can download the SCL mobile phone app at: http://www.seattle.gov/light/mobile/.
Be careful choosing heating or lighting sources in the event of a power outage. Open flames and unattended candles are dangerous. Do not bring barbecues or gas grills inside. The fumes can be poisonous and deadly. Keep an ample supply of battery-powered flashlights and a battery-operated radio on hand.
All branches of the Seattle Public Library and Parks Community Centers are closed today. For a complete list of city facilities that will be closed, please visit http://www.seattle.gov.
All residential trash collection is cancelled for today. There will be limited commercial trash collection.
Emergency Preparedness information is available in multiple languages at: http://www.seattle.gov/emergency/prepare/language/default.htm.
People should avoid travelling this morning. SDOT’s Winter Weather page at http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/winterweather.htm includes maps of the City’s snow routes and real-time information on road conditions. If you must travel, do your best to use transit.
Most of the regional transit agencies are currently running on snow routes including King County Metro (http://www.kingcounty.gov/metro/snow) and Sound Transit (http://www.soundtransit.org/Schedules/Alerts/Winter-Weather.xml). Riders are encouraged to check bus status online as conditions change rapidly.