Travelers encouraged to prepare for cold weather and possible snow

The Puget Sound region is bracing for its first winter cold snap and travelers in King County are being encouraged to prepare for the possibility of snow and travel disruptions this weekend and next week.

At the moment, the National Weather Service forecasts temperatures to begin dropping on Sunday, with possible overnight freezing temperatures Monday and Tuesday.

The King County Department of Transportation urges Metro Transit customers and water taxi riders, as well as people who travel unincorporated county roads, to monitor weather reports and connect to information available from King County, including travel alerts.

King County’s My Commute page is a resource for monitoring the status of roads, and information is available on the county roads’ snow response page.

Metro Transit riders can review timetables and the transit adverse weather page for snow route information. As weather conditions continue to develop, Metro customers are urged to familiarize themselves with the planned snow route for their regular bus.

Regional updates will be posted on the King County Emergency blog.

Road Services crews are on rotation and available to sand and plow mapped snow routes. Call the 24/7 Roads Helpline at (206) 477-8100 to report road traffic safety issues in unincorporated King County, such as downed stop signs, malfunctioning signals or trees over the roadway. The Snow and Ice page also has more information.

Locals wake to winter wonderland in Ballard

Ballardites woke to a (thin) blanket of snow covering the neighborhood this morning. The snow stated to fall in our neighborhood around 2:30 a.m. and continued for a few hours.

At first it looked unlikely that it would stick due to wet weather conditions yesterday, however, locals awoke to a beautiful snow covered neighborhood!

Check out some photos below taken near NW 65th St:





Email in your photos to and we’ll post them on the blog!

Snow expected in Seattle overnight

According to the National Weather Service, Seattle has a 70% predicted chance of snow between 9 p.m. this evening and 11 a.m. tomorrow morning. Seattle is predicted to reach a high of just 33 degrees tomorrow.

Locals should prepare for icy and snowy conditions in the neighborhood. King County Metro is also advising customers to prepare for restricted services if the icy weather persists.

Click here to check out some important winter driving tips from SDOT.

If you spot snow, send in your photos to and we’ll post them online.

Photos of a snowy Ballard

Ballard woke up to a beautiful snowy Sunday. Here are some photos from My Ballard readers as well as neighbors on Instagram…
“A beautiful winter wonderland,” wrote Holly, who sent us this photo of her two-year old enjoying the snow.

Snow-covered trees with the farmer’s market in the distance.

A look across the Ballard Locks at Magnolia.

Jamie sent us this photo: great day for the kids to enjoy the snow.

Parents and kids broke out the sleds.

Enough snow for a big snowman! Photo from Courtney.

And an even bigger snow bunny, spotted somewhere in Ballard.

Big snowstorm in the Seattle forecast

  • Update 12:10 p.m. Seattle Schools sending students home early because of the winter weather. Two-hour early dismissal today (after a two-hour late start.) After school activities canceled.
  • We took a drive around Ballard and Crown Hill. It’s amazing how the weather changes throughout the neighborhood. Snow starts sticking north of 65th and gets whiter the more north you go.

    NW Market Street just before noon. Light snow that’s not sticking

    Near NW 65th & 8th Ave NW, snowing and a little slush on the road

    Sunset Hill Park just before noon. Snowing and sticking.

    Sunset Hill at 32nd and about NW 77th

    The Crown Hill Safeway parking lot at 11 a.m. Lots of snow and slush.

  • Updated 10:20 a.m. Wet snow is now falling in Ballard.
  • Updated 9:55 a.m. Cliff Mass is now saying this storm may not be as big as first predicted. “The latest series of model runs are in and to me they suggest we need to scale snow totals down over Puget Sound to 2-5 inches. In other words, not a record even over the PS area.” You can read more from Mass here.
  • Updated: 8 a.m.: Kiro7 is reporting that Seattle is in the “snow shadow” of the Olympic Mountains and could see a trace to an inch of snow today. “Tomorrow is going to be the big day around Seattle,” Sam Argier says. He says six to 12 inches could fall in Seattle. Jim Guy of King5 is forecasting about nine inches. According to Argier, a Winter Storm Advisory is in effect through 4 p.m. today. A Winter Storm Warning goes into effect for the lowlands tomorrow.
  • Updated: 7 a.m. : Seattle Public Utilities says garbage, recycling and food/yard waste collection is normal today, although collections may be restricted in hilly areas. Customers who were missed yesterday should set out their materials today for pickup. If your material is not picked up today, set it out on your next regularly scheduled pickup day.
  • Updated 6:20 a.m.: The roads in Ballard and Crown Hill are bare and wet. Light rain started falling just after 6 a.m. A spokesman for the Department of Transportation tells KIRO-FM listeners that just because your commute doesn’t start out bad, doesn’t mean it will end that way. Be prepared for snowy conditions.
  • Updated: 7:40 p.m. Seattle Public Schools will open two hours late on Tuesday because of a winter weather advisory issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). All pre-school activities, including preschool and Head Start are cancelled. Buses will be operating on snow routes, which means that yellow buses only run on roads maintained by the City that receive snow removal. Transportation information can be found here.
  • Updated: 7:40 p.m. King County Metro has announced that they will be on snow routing tomorrow. Check their website here for updates and their Snow, Ice and Flood page here.
  • The National Weather Service is calling for a historic snowstorm to move through on Tuesday and Wednesday. “Snowfall amounts at Seatac could exceed anything seen since November 1985, a top five record 24-hour snowfall amount,” writes the NWS on this forecast discussion. How much? Anything from 6 to 14 inches in the immediate Seattle area.

    Highway 518 near Sea-Tac airport on Sunday afternoon

    With Sunday’s storm, Ballard was largely spared while some South Seattle communities (above) and Capitol Hill were blanketed in snow. But this time around, forecasters say the entire region will see significant snow. “The huge event begins late Tuesday night and continues over most of the area Wednesday,” states the NWS. The forecast calls for rain either late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning.

    At Fred Meyer tonight, there was little sign of anyone stocking up for the storm, although quantities of snow shovels and de-icing salt are going fast and running low. An employee told us that once they’re gone, it will be several days before they’ll be able to stock up with more.

    Here are a few useful resources:

  • SDOT has this Winter Weather Response map:

    During a winter storm, SDOT sends out a fleet of vehicles equipped with GPS tracking systems. Some vehicles have a plow blade; others have de-icing or spreader equipment. The map layers show the recent path of vehicles that have been dispatched to respond to the winter weather event, by time frame and type of equipment.

  • There is also the SnowWatch website (screen grab above) that shows current temperatures, estimated snowfall and temperature trends.
  • And don’t forget our own Ballard-area traffic cameras here on My Ballard.
  • Just a reminder that residents and shopkeepers are required by city code to clear the sidewalk in front of their home/business.

    Ballard wakes up to light dusting of snow

    10:45 a.m. What little snow we had this morning is pretty much gone. The roads are bare, but it’s cold out so please be careful of ice.

  • Metro Transit: All of the north Seattle and central Seattle routes are on a normal schedule, other parts of the city/county are on modified schedules. Check this site to get updated info.
  • Seattle Schools: Schools are closed for mid-winter break. SPS sent out a notice that all Mid-Winter Break enrichment classes canceled today.
  • Weather forecast:

    Today: Snow showers south of Seattle with new accumulation up to an inch. Mostly cloudy with flurries Seattle northward. Highs in the lower to mid 30s. North wind 10 to 15 MPH.
    Tonight Mostly cloudy with a chance of snow showers in the evening. Becoming partly cloudy overnight. Cold. Lows 17 to 24. Northeast wind 5 to 15 MPH.
    Friday: Mostly sunny. Highs in the lower to mid-30s. North wind 10 to 15 MPH

  • Earlier: It wasn’t the 2-6 inches the forecasters warned us about, but there is a dusting up to an inch on the ground in Ballard this morning. The forecast calls for a trace to 2 inches more later today.

    Live traffic cameras. Refresh to update. See all North Seattle cameras.

    With the temperature currently at 29 degrees, the one thing to keep an eye on this morning is ice. Metro buses are on snow routes this morning, and Microsoft has canceled all its Connector routes. Here’s SDOT’s first report this AM:

    Most city streets are bare and wet this morning. Crews from the Seattle Department of Transportation are treating major arterial streets to guard against the formation of ice in advance of the morning commute period. Snowfall last night was highly variable around the city. Beacon Hill, southern Rainier Valley, and higher parts of West Seattle appear to have had the most snow.

    And WSDOT crews have been busy treating the freeways. For the most part, traffic is moving smoothly. You can check the latest WSDOT traffic updates, the flow map and the full set of WSDOT cameras.

    In short, it looks like we dodged a bullet, but drive carefully out there.

    City prepares for snow, Metro urges readiness

    There’s light snow on the ground, but the big snow event is coming Wednesday. With the forecasts (Weather Service | Cliff Mass | KING 5) calling for 2 to 6 inches in the Seattle area, a winter storm watch will take effect starting at 4 a.m.

    Live traffic camera. See all Ballard cameras.

    In preparation, the City of Seattle has activated its snow plan. Early in the morning, ten snow plows will hit the north end of the city. At 9 a.m., the Seattle Department of Transportation “will go into a full 24-hour response plan to keep roads open, buses moving and critical emergency services accessible,” Rick Sheridan of SDOT writes. More from the release:

    The response plan calls for deploying 30 trucks with plows, which will be prepositioned throughout the city in key locations such as elevated structures and certain trouble spots on major arterials. The department starting pre-treating major roadways with salt brine this afternoon in preparation for the storm. Additional details concerning SDOT’s response will be forthcoming as more information about the impending storm becomes available.

    SDOT also reminds property owners that they are responsible for the sidewalks in front of their properties.

    Mayor Mike McGinn says this storm could be like that of November 22, 2010. “Because Wednesday afternoon’s commute is expected to be difficult,” McGinn writes in a statement, “It may be a good day to work an alternate shift, telecommute or make other travel arrangements if possible.”

    Metro Transit is also urging passengers to be prepared for the snow.

    Wednesday’s snowfall may start out light in some areas, but transit users should plan ahead for bus trips that could be disrupted, delayed, and on snow routing. Even though weather in the morning may not be bad in your area, you should leave from a bus stop or park-and-ride that also has service when buses are on snow routes in case travel conditions deteriorate by the afternoon commute.

    Click here for more on Metro’s snow plans.