National Weather Service cancels winter storm warning for Friday
By JEFF RHODES
Port Orchard Independent Editor
December 29, 2008 · Updated 12:39 PM
The National Weather Service in Seattle Friday morning cancelled a winter storm warning that was predicting up to five inches of snow for certain sections of the Puget Sound region.
Forecasters are now predicting that the “explosively developing low pressure” is tracking farther north that originally expected and believe there is no longer threat of significant accumulation south of Everett.
However, the lowlands “could still see slushy snow accumulations on higher hills away from the water” with snow reaching as low as 500 feet above sea level, but “any snow that does accumulate does not appear to be widespread and significant through early Saturday morning.”
Saturday afternoon, 1 to 3 inches of snow may still be possible in the lowlands, and large amounts are possible along the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
In preparation for nasty weather, Kitsap County road crews had moved to round-the-clock shifts on Friday morning.
“Our equipment is ready, we have a good stockpile of materials, and our crews are prepared,” said Don Schultz, road superintendent.
The county has 24 large trucks equipped for sanding and plowing, eight smaller trucks for targeted snow and ice removal operations, and five road graders that augment the other equipment. Operations preceding the storm focuses on applying a salt-brine mixture that is designed to help prevent snow and ice from adhering to the pavement.
“We’ve been putting salt-brine down this week in anticipation of the storm, and we’ll continue that this morning,” said Schultz.
Drivers are reminded to stay at least 200 feet behind snow and ice removal equipment.
The county uses a strategic snow and ice plan to prioritize which areas receive attention first. Primary roads and arterials receive the initial efforts.
“Crews work on the primary roads and arterials until they are cleared,” said Schultz.
Often crews are on these roads for the first day of the storm event, and sometimes longer when snow continues.
“After the primary roads are cleared we move to secondary roads,” added Schultz.
Only when both primary and secondary roads are cleared do crews move to residential streets.
The complete snow and ice control policy, along with a map that identifies primary and secondary routes, is available at www.kitsapgov.com/pw/snowplow.htm.
The site also includes information about the salt-brine application.
“Crews follow the priority plowing plan and are aware that all roads need plowed during winter storm events,” according to Doug Bear, Public Works spokesman.
“Calling Public Works to say your road needs plowed won’t result in a deviation from that plan,” said Bear.
The Road Report (www.kitsapgov.com/pw/roadwork.htm) offers the best way for residents to stay informed of where crews are working. The report is frequently updated during storms to let residents know when crews are working on primary routes, when they move to secondary routes, and when we they move to residential streets.
The Road Report also lists roads closed by inclement weather, and alerts motorists to any detours or other problems on county roads.
When users sign up for The Road Report, updates are sent to their e-mail address automatically during storms.
Always use care and caution when driving in winter weather. The Washington State Patrol has put together a great guide with tips to prepare for winter weather, and tips for driving on snow and ice. You can find that information at www.wsp.wa.gov/traveler/docs/equipmt/wintwise.pdf.