As the first blizzard of the season begins to pound the City of Seattle, the Seattle Department of Transportation has begun to set up plans to account for a shortage of resources.
The majority of the city is only forecast to receive around an inch of snow from the storm, but the city is unable to clear every road inside its boundaries, so drivers may face some difficulties as a result.
The city claims that it lacked its own dedicated snow plows in the past. Instead, when snow is forecast, city trucks must be equipped with snow removal tools.
According to the city, “There are insufficient vehicles to plow all the streets despite the availability of an alternate reaction to snowplows.” In addition, the steep grades of several Seattle roadways make them impractical to maintain during snow and ice.
However, according to The Center Square, the Seattle Department of Transportation currently has more than 50 trucks equipped to clear snow and ice. Crew members from several departments are on standby to work around the clock during winter storms, although a 12-hour shift has been established in preparation.
In 2022, the city allocated $9 million, with projections for $9.8 million in 2023 and $10.2 million in 2024 due to emergency responses, which included harsh winter weather.
The city’s transportation department’s priority is to clear designated thoroughfares. Only key thoroughfares in the central business district are plowed by the city.
The city’s snow response team is asking for help from citizens in clearing sidewalks and driveways since they can’t do it alone.
As snow blankets western Washington, airport officials in Seattle have had to cancel more than 100 flights and postpone another 100. By Tuesday afternoon, FlightAware, which monitors flights at major airports around the world, reported that 182 flights had been canceled and over 400 had been delayed at Sea-Tac. About 1,200 planes a day use Sea-Tac during this time of year, according to a spokeswoman.
As numerous weather systems passed through the region on Tuesday morning, low-lying snow began falling in Seattle and the surrounding area. We should have snow levels between 400 and 800 feet all week.
At 9 a.m., the airport had a ground delay due to an FAA announcement, which delayed planes by an average of 34 minutes. According to the FAA, crews started spraying de-icing fluid at 8:00 a.m. in order to clear snow and ice off the runway. About midday, they called off the ground stop.
“You can rely on us to clear main routes, but crews can’t be everywhere at once,” the Seattle Department of Transportation said in a statement. It is the duty of every citizen to remove snow and ice off the sidewalks in front of their houses and businesses.
As of the morning of Tuesday, the Twitter account for the city’s transportation department had reported that there have been three documented traffic crashes in the city. However, none of this can be attributed to the cold weather.