Snow in Edmonds: The neverending story

‘Like everyone, we will be glad when this event is over’
By Brian Soergel | Feb 14, 2019
Courtesy of: City of Edmonds Kyle Harris, left, and Jimmy Ward were among the many Public Works employees clearing the streets for Edmonds residents.

If you were in these parts in December 1996, you remember the megastorm that dumped heavy snow on the Port of Edmonds marina and all but one of the covered boat sheds collapsed from the weight.

More than 250 boats sank, and hundreds more were damaged.

But this unending snow and slush that started Feb. 2 – now four storms back-to-back! – that has left snow piled high on streets and cars twisting in the inevitable slush and mush, has certainly worn out its welcome.

We’re just not used to this much snow over an extended period.

"I know the last several days, well, week actually, have been very hard on everyone in both Edmonds and the entire Puget Sound region,” Public Works Director Phil Williams said Tuesday. It’s his department that sends the snowplows around town. “I know it can be frustrating trying to plan around an event like this.”

Public Works crews have been on 12-hour shifts since last Monday, Feb. 4, Williams said. For many of them, that meant 12-13 hours at work and, in inclement conditions, often one to two hours of additional time commuting to and from home to get to work.

“Plowing is difficult, exhausting and sometimes dangerous,” Williams said. “You have to focus hard every second when you are driving a 25-ton vehicle in deep snow, usually in close proximity to non-professional drivers in poorly equipped vehicles. Every employee assigned this task has reported to work every day, on-time and prepared to work.”

Williams said that none of his employees has yet had a day off and no one has called in sick or even show up late because their commute was affected by the weather.

“I could not be more proud of the work they have done so far,” he said.

Indeed, the City’s three plow trucks have been running 24/7 for more than a week, keeping main arterials such as Main Street and Ninth Avenue clear.

“We are working to maintain our stockpile of sand as it is in short supply regionally,” Williams said. “That has been a challenge. We use calcium magnesium acetate as an anti-ice compound and pre-wetter. We have used most of that up this week, but have another shipment expected (Tuesday). We are doing well and, like everyone, we will be glad when this event is over.”

As the snow lessens, of course, the melting begins.

Williams said those who notice a storm drain plugged with slush and starting to pond can grab a rake, shovel, or other tool, and pull it apart enough to let the water enter the structure.

“That could be helpful, but don't try it on busy streets,” he said.

If the problem is in a congested or high traffic area, you should call Public Works during the day (425-771-0235) or call 911 after hours and weekends.

Schools

On Wednesday, Feb. 13, the Edmonds School District closed all its schools for the fifth day since Feb. 4.

So the school year is currently set to end with an early release day on Wednesday, June 26.

There are five snow make-up days printed in the school calendar that will be used, in this order: June 21, May 10, June 24, June 25, and June 26.

Ferries

The recent run of snow affected the Edmonds-Kingston ferry run.

After 6:10 p.m. Monday, Feb. 11, the route was reduced to one-boat service, with the No. 1 vessel operating for the rest of the evening after that time.

That meant that the 7 and 8:30 p.m. sailings out of Edmonds were canceled, along with the 7:45 p.m. sailing out of Kingston.

"We’re short handed due to the storm," Washington State Ferries spokesman Ian Sterling said on Monday. "Also traffic is way, way down. Incidentally, we had crew in hotels on their own dime to keep the boats moving as well as they have.

"Crews also sleep onboard to make sure the system continues to run."

 

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