Snowplow crews toil day and night to clear Issaquah streets

January 24, 2012

Come winter, the nonstop struggle between man and Mother Nature unfolds in a teeth-rattling ride aboard city snowplows.

Kyle Patterson, a city snowplow driver, maneuvers through the Montreux neighborhood to remove snow from streets Tuesday afternoon. By Warren Kagarise

Snow, split into quarters from tire tracks, clung to the streets just before sunset Jan. 17 in Montreux, a tony neighborhood on Cougar Mountain named for a city in the Swiss Alps. In methodical maneuvers, city snowplow driver Kyle Patterson edged back and forth along cul-de-sac after cul-de-sac, pushing snow from the roadway to form dirt-flecked berms along the street.

In the process, snow cascades from the plow and light powder is compacted into something more akin to spackle.

Each large snowplow truck in the city fleet resembles a mustard-yellow box atop gargantuan tires, a Tonka toy for a giant. Empty, a large truck tips the scales at about 30,000 pounds. Loaded, full of sand and de-icing fluid, the total balloons to about 60,000 pounds.

(The city operates seven snowplow trucks, a larger model for main roads and a smaller model for difficult-to-maneuver side streets.)

The drivers, dressed in fluorescent jackets the same color as a highlighter pen, ride in the snowplow cabs beneath a flashing amber light. Most drivers use earplugs to block noise from the rumbling engine and brakes screeching like a pterodactyl.

The job requires a nimble hand on the steering wheel and the levers used to manipulate the plow — not to mention patience, precision and pluck — for the lumbering trucks remain susceptible to the same road hazards as other vehicles, despite the bulk and chains meant to ensure traction.

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Fire destroys Tiger Mountain home, dogs perish

January 24, 2012

Flames sparked by a generator in a garage caused a blaze and destroyed a Tiger Mountain house near Issaquah.

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Some Issaquah customers face wait for power restoration

January 22, 2012

NEW — 12:40 p.m. Jan. 22, 2012

Some Puget Sound Energy customers in the Issaquah area could remain without power until late Wednesday evening, as utility crews continue the arduous cleanup from crippling winter storms last week.

Customers in Issaquah and unincorporated King County communities — Hobart and Preston — face the longest waits for restoration, late Wednesday evening.

Power is expected to be restored in Mirrormont on Tiger Mountain by early Monday evening.

In a proposed restoration timeline released Saturday evening, Bellevue-based PSE said communities in forested or remote areas face the longest waits.

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In Issaquah, power outage, travel headaches continue for another day

January 20, 2012

Rodney Amburgey, a lineman with City Pacific Services contracted to Puget Sound Energy, works Jan. 20 to secure a broken and dangling utility pole crossbeam at Southeast May Valley Road and 231st Place Southeast. By Greg Farrar

NEW — 6:30 a.m. Jan. 20, 2012

Though the forecast calls for temperatures to inch upward Friday, effects from a major snowstorm and rare ice storm continue to impact Issaquah residents.

Puget Sound Energy estimated 11,235 customers remained without power in Issaquah at 6:10 a.m. — a drop from the more than 18,000 left in the dark Thursday. Difficult road conditions continue to challenge motorists on city streets and roads in unincorporated King County.

City road crews continue to focus on maintaining priority routes and removing downed trees from the roadway. Numerous roads in Issaquah and nearby areas closed Thursday due to fallen trees and downed power lines.

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Issaquah road closures expand due to downed power lines, fallen trees

January 19, 2012

NEW — 7:50 p.m. Jan. 19, 2012

Trees loaded with snow continue to snap and fall on state highways and local streets across Issaquah and nearby unincorporated areas, causing street closures.

Crews said a coating of ice on trees and power lines is further complicating travel. Motorists should be on the lookout for falling debris as well as ice on roads.

Early Thursday, crews responded a downed tree and power lines on state Route 900 between Northwest Talus Drive and the southern city limits. The stretch between the access road to the Talus urban village and the city line closed early Thursday and remains closed as Puget Sound Energy crews tend to the problem.

Southeast 56th Street from 229th Avenue Southeast to East Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast is closed due to downed power lines.

On Squak Mountain, Highwood Drive Southwest near the intersection of Greenwood Boulevard Southwest is closed and Southwest Forest Drive is closed from Wildwood Boulevard Southwest to Wildwood Boulevard Southwest. In addition, the road is closed at 845 S.W. Ellerwood St.

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Motorists encounter fallen trees on local, regional roads

January 19, 2012

State Route 900 remains barricaded at midafternoon Jan. 20 to motorists wanting to go southbound past Northwest Talus Drive, a day after a downed tree blocked access to the urban village. By Greg Farrar

NEW — 1:15 p.m. Jan. 19, 2012

State transportation officials said the ice after a major snowstorm continues to create difficult driving conditions throughout the region.

Department of Transportation planners said frigid temperatures should continue to cause harsh conditions throughout Thursday.

“We had our crews out all night de-icing the roads. We threw everything we had at this storm — sand, de-icer, salt and plows,” Regional Maintenance Manager Dave McCormick said. “It’s so widespread that it’s been very difficult to keep up.”

State Route 900 is closed at Southeast May Valley Road. State Route 18 remains closed from Auburn Way and Issaquah-Hobart Road Southeast due to multiple downed trees for several miles. State Route 202 is closed between Fall City and Snoqualmie due to downed trees. The roads should remain closed for several hours.

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King County road crews report ‘very treacherous’ conditions

January 19, 2012

NEW — 8:30 a.m. Jan. 19, 2012

King County Road Services Division crews reported “very treacherous” road conditions Thursday morning due to additional snow and freezing rain on local roadways.

Meanwhile, the state Department of Transportation extended the closure of state Route 18 from Interstate 90 to Issaquah-Hobart Road Southeast from the interstate to state Route 164 in Auburn — a 22-mile stretch.

City crews reopened Newport Way Northwest from Northwest Oakcrest Drive to state Route 900 by 8:30 a.m. after a downed tree prompted a closure.

Though city, county and state crews continue efforts to keep major arteries clear for motorists, drivers should expect icy conditions on less-traveled roads. County crews reported problems related to downed trees and limbs from heavy ice accumulations.

More rain or freezing rain is in the forecast for the next several hours, s0 motorists should use extreme caution on local roads. If possible, officials urged people to postpone trips until later in the day after temperatures inch upward.

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King County crews encounter headaches as snowstorm barrels across region

January 18, 2012

NEW — 2:45 p.m. Jan. 18, 2012

The snowstorm pummeling the Puget Sound region is causing transportation headaches across King County, officials said Wednesday afternoon as road crews attempted to keep major arteries open to traffic.

Officials said no county road is escaping the impact of the latest winter storm.

County Road Services Division crews reported hazardous driving conditions along and several road closures across the region. The county focused mostly on plowing and sanding along the major roadways throughout the county, such as Issaquah-Hobart Road Southeast.

Countywide, about 150 field staffers continue to work 12-hour shifts to support 24-hour operations. That around-the-clock schedule is due to continue until conditions improve.

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Snowplow crews toil day and night to clear Issaquah streets

January 18, 2012

Kyle Patterson, a city snowplow driver, maneuvers through the Montreux neighborhood to remove snow from streets Tuesday afternoon. By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 8 a.m. Jan. 18, 2012

Come winter, the nonstop struggle between man and Mother Nature unfolds in a teeth-rattling ride aboard city snowplows.

Snow, split into quarters from tire tracks, clung to the streets late Tuesday afternoon in Montreux, a tony neighborhood on Cougar Mountain named for a city in the Swiss Alps. In methodical maneuvers, city snowplow driver Kyle Patterson edged back and forth along cul-de-sac after cul-de-sac, pushing snow from the roadway to form dirt-flecked berms along the street.

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Snow blankets region, but officials report few headaches — so far

January 17, 2012

Snow blanketed Issaquah and the Puget Sound region Jan. 15 and 16, as officials and residents prepared for more challenging conditions in the days ahead.

The potential for more snow — plus flooding as the snow melted — reminded emergency planners to gird for harsh La Niña conditions, albeit later in the season than expected.

“It’s going to be pretty messy in the next couple of days,” said Johnny Burg, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Seattle. “People should just pay attention to the forecast.”

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