Issaquah road crews deploy to clear priority routes

February 22, 2011

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 10 p.m. Feb. 22, 2011

Issaquah road crews remain on standby to apply sand or de-icing fluid to Issaquah streets if needed throughout Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

In the meantime, roads remain open in Issaquah, though drivers should prepare for winter driving conditions, even on treated roads and especially at night.

Crews focus on priority routes and then start to clear side streets as conditions allow.

National Weather Service forecasters in Seattle issued a winter storm warning for Western Washington through Thursday.

Forecasters said 1 to 2 inches could accumulate overnight Tuesday. The chance of precipitation is 90 percent.

The weather service said another 1 to 3 inches of accumulation is possible in Issaquah on Wednesday. The chance of precipitation is 80 percent.

The mercury is expected to drop to 27 degrees Wednesday night. Meteorologists predicted another 1 to 3 inches could accumulate overnight Wednesday in the city.

The chance of snow continues through Thursday, especially before 4 p.m.

Motorists can check up-to-the-minute road conditions on real-time traffic cameras installed throughout Issaquah.

King County Road Services Division planners track road conditions for roads in rural and unincorporated areas during inclement conditions.

If drivers must abandon vehicles along Issaquah streets, park clear of travel lanes to allow snow equipment to pass. (The city tows vehicles left abandoned in travel lanes. Call the Issaquah Police Department nonemergency line, 837-3200, to locate vehicles after a snowstorm.)

In addition, exposure to cold can cause injury or serious illness, such as frostbite or hypothermia.

The likelihood of injury or illness depends on factors, such as physical activity, clothing, wind, humidity, working and living conditions, plus a person’s age and state of health.

American Red Cross emergency planners offer tips for preparing for cold weather and snowy conditions:

  • Prepare your vehicle and winterize your car. During winter, make sure to keep the gas tank near full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines. Keep extra blankets in the trunk in the event the vehicle becomes stranded.
  • Keep a winter storm survival kit — including blankets, food, flares, chains, gloves and first aid supplies — in the car.
  • Dress appropriately before going outdoors. The air temperature does not need to be below freezing for someone to experience cold emergencies, such as hypothermia and frostbite. Wind speed can create dangerously cold conditions even if the temperature is not extremely low.
  • If possible, avoid being outside in the coldest part of the day, or for extended periods of time in extreme cold weather. Take frequent breaks and stay hydrated.
  • Dress in layers in order to adjust to changing condition, and avoid overdressing or overexertion.
  • Most body heat is lost through the head, so wear a hat, preferably one to cover the ears. Mittens provide more warmth to hands than gloves.
  • Wear waterproof, insulated boots to help avoid hypothermia or frostbite by keeping feet warm and dry, and to maintain footing in ice and snow.
  • Remove wet clothes immediately and warm the core body temperature with a blanket or warm fluids, such as hot cider or soup. Avoid drinking caffeine or alcohol if in order to help hypothermia or frostbite.

King County Metro Transit has warned bus riders to prepare for treacherous commutes Wednesday. The snowstorm could cause morning, afternoon and evening trips to be disrupted, delayed, reduced or operate on snow routing.

Planners urged riders to check the winter weather website before traveling. Updates start at 4 a.m. each day.

The agency also encouraged residents to sign up for Transit Alerts to receive up-to-date information about snow operations.

If buses operate on snow routes, some streets and bus stops may be missed — and delays might occur — due to travel conditions. Metro Transit has updated snow routes from past years, so riders should check the updated routes.

The agency displays the service status of each area on a color-coded snow map:

  • Green indicates buses operating on normal routes.
  • Yellow indicates some, but not all, routes in the area operating on snow routes.
  • Red indicates all bus routes in a designated area operating on snow routes.

Buses do not always run on schedule in snowy or icy conditions. Plus, increased ridership during inclement weather can result in crowded buses and a longer-than-usual wait on the phone for the Customer Information Office.

Riders should dress warmly for the walk to the bus stop, expect delays and wear weather-appropriate footwear.

The agency also recommends for riders to head for bus stops on main arterials or at major transfer points, such as park-and-ride lots, transit facilities or shopping centers, and to wait at the top or bottom of hills, because buses cannot stop for passengers on inclines.

Sound Transit reminded riders to boost “snow-how” for riding mass transit in the days ahead.

Sound Transit riders should sign up to receive rider alert e-mails or text messages. Riders can receive routes for specific bus routes. Enroll here.

During snowstorms and the aftermath, Sound Transit keeps current rider alerts posted atop the agency website. Or call 888-889-6368 for up-to-date information.

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