Issaquah, King County road crews start snow watch as mercury dips

December 17, 2012

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 10 p.m. Dec. 17, 2012

Issaquah and King County road crews prepared for the possibility of snow late Monday, as forecasters issued a winter weather advisory for Western Washington.

Meteorologists said conditions exist for lowland snow showers overnight as temperatures drop into the low 30s and snow levels sink to only a few hundred feet above sea level. The chance of snow is expected to decrease Tuesday morning as temperatures increase into the upper 30s and low 40s.

National Weather Service meteorologists in Seattle said snow showers could occur overnight in Issaquah. Snow accumulation of less than 1 inch is possible. The chance of precipitation is 70 percent.

Snow is possible before 10 a.m. Tuesday, followed by a chance of rain between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. The snow level is expected to reach 400 feet. Snow accumulation of less than a half inch is possible. The chance of precipitation is 60 percent.

Forecasters predict little or no snow accumulation for Tuesday night. The chance of precipitation is 70 percent.

The city, county and state Department of Transportation stockpiled salt, sand and anti-icing agents at locations throughout Issaquah and the surrounding area. Crews readied plows and sanders, and crews started to receive road-clearing assignments before Thanksgiving.

Issaquah and King County divide streets into priority levels for snow removal.

City snowplows initially focus on Priority 1 routes — important arteries and access to hillside communities, such as Squak Mountain and the highlands. Crews then address side streets as conditions allow.

City crews toil around the clock in 12-hour shifts to remove snow from the roadway and, if necessary, drop sand and de-icing fluid onto the roadway.

The county also puts crews on 12-hour shifts during significant snowstorms to provide around-the-clock response in unincorporated areas.

Some motorists traveling on roads at higher elevations and farther east in King County already experienced some snow showers Monday. But, as temperatures drop and more snow moves in overnight, motorists traveling almost anywhere in the county could encounter snow.

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