Meteorologists forecast blustery, soggy Thanksgiving

November 19, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Nov. 19, 2012

Expect a soggy Thanksgiving and a side of rain in the days before the holiday, as series of systems batters Western Washington.

The weather comes as rain-soaked Pacific systems barrel across the region in quick succession. National Weather Service meteorologists in Seattle said the strongest fronts should affect Western Washington through Monday night.

Residents should expect 2 to 5 inches of additional rain to fall in the mountains below the snow level. The influx of moisture increases the landslide risk on slopes.

Then, wet and windy weather should continue through the week, with lulls possible on Tuesday and Thursday, Thanksgiving. Snow is forecast to fall in the mountains, and motorists should prepare for snow in the mountain passes, including Snoqualmie Pass.

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State extends studded tire deadline to April 16

March 27, 2012

The state Department of Transportation extended the studded tire removal deadline to April 16 in preparation for possible wintry conditions during the Easter holiday weekend.

In Washington, studded tires can be legally used between Nov. 1 and March 31, unless the state extends the removal deadline. Violators face a $124 penalty during other months.

“This year, we have a combination of winter weather still in the forecast for much of the state,” Chris Christopher, director of maintenance operations, said in a statement. “With spring break and Easter right around the corner, we wanted to give drivers the chance to travel before having to take off their studded tires.”

The state transportation agency recommends motorists headed into higher elevations carry chains and use approved traction tires year round.

Officials do not expect to extend the deadline beyond April 16.

Department of Transportation extends studded tire deadline

March 22, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. March 22, 2012

The state Department of Transportation extended the studded tire removal deadline to April 16 in preparation for possible wintry conditions during the Easter holiday weekend.

In Washington, studded tires can be legally used between Nov. 1 and March 31, unless the state extends the removal deadline. Violators face a $124 penalty during other months.

The state transportation agency recommends motorists headed into higher elevations carry chains and use approved traction tires year round.

“This year, we have a combination of winter weather still in the forecast for much of the state,” Chris Christopher, director of maintenance operations, said in a statement. “With spring break and Easter right around the corner, we wanted to give drivers the chance to travel before having to take off their studded tires.”

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Hearing offers customers a chance to respond to utilities’ January storm efforts

March 15, 2012

NEW — 11:15 a.m. March 15, 2012

Utility customers from Issaquah and other areas impacted during the January storms can offer input on energy and telephone companies’ responses at a public hearing in Olympia.

People affected by the snowstorm and subsequent ice storm can speak at the state Utilities and Transportation Commission’s public hearing Monday. The commission meets at 9:30 a.m. Monday at 1300 S. Evergreen Park Drive S.W., Olympia.

Starting at 9:30 a.m., Puget Sound Energy representatives plan to discuss electricity-related problems encountered during the storms. Then, at 10:30 a.m., regional cable and telephone companies plan to discuss performance during the storms. The public comment portion starts at 11:15 a.m.

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Bond includes dollars for relocating, rebuilding schools

March 13, 2012

The above map shows the current and future locations of Issaquah Middle, Clark Elementary and Tiger Mountain Community High schools. By Dona Mokin

Of the total $219 million bond package proposed by the Issaquah School District, four projects account for roughly half of those dollars.

If district voters approve the issue in a special election April 17, plans call for rebuilding the district’s three oldest schools, Clark and Sunny Hills elementary schools, along with Issaquah Middle School. Total cost: $109.1 million.

Intertwined with the plans to rebuild Clark and IMS is the plan to rebuild Tiger Mountain Community High School on part of what is now the IMS campus. Cost of that project is estimated at $3.9 million.

The overall plan

The buildings involved are old and largely past their useful life spans.

A bond feasibility and development committee developed the original capital improvement program during planning sessions held roughly a year ago. One long debate was whether to propose rebuilding the oldest schools or to push for dollars to repair and maintain those buildings.

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Snow prompts Issaquah School District to delay classes

March 13, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. March 13, 2012

Snow blanketed the Issaquah area overnight and led the Issaquah School District to operate on a two-hour delay Tuesday morning.

Because of the delay, district officials canceled all before-school activities, including morning school-age care, Headstart, morning and afternoon preschool, morning and afternoon kindergarten, and out-of-district transportation.

In addition, full-day kindergarten starts two hours late due to the snow.

Spots in the Issaquah area and other areas in the Cascade foothills received several inches of snow overnight. Motorists should exercise caution on state Route 18 across the Tiger Mountain summit.

National Weather Service forecasters in Seattle said snow is not expected to accumulate throughout the morning. The temperature is expected to climb into the mid-40s and the snow level is expected to rise to about 1,000 feet.

Hazardous conditions impacted response to January storms

March 6, 2012

The battle against the elements created dangerous conditions for city crews during a snowstorm and a rare ice storm in January, officials said in a recent update on response to the storms.

City crews scrambled to keep pace as the storms battered Issaquah and the region. Sometimes, limbs crashed onto city streets mere moments after a snowplow scraped snow and ice from the surface.

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Snowstorm-related repairs continue on state Route 18

March 6, 2012

Crews closed state Route 18 lanes across Tiger Mountain for several hours March 3 to continue repairs from the January storms.

The state Department of Transportation closed westbound state Route 18 between Interstate 90 and the Tiger Mountain summit to rip out and replace damaged guardrail. Eastbound state Route 18 remained opened to motorists.

Crews needed to replace the guardrail and install support posts. State planners said a tractor-trailer damaged the guardrail during the January snowstorm.

The agency closed the westbound highway, because workers could not safely alternate traffic at the location due to the narrow roadway and the difficulty of tractor-trailers stopping on the steep grade.

President declares King County a disaster area for January storms

March 5, 2012

NEW — 3:40 p.m. March 5, 2012

Federal aid is available to Issaquah and other cities impacted during the January storms, because President Barack Obama declared King County a disaster area Monday.

The cost of storm response and cleanup reached $530,000 for city government. City officials said about $383,000 in costs related to the storms could be eligible for reimbursement through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Gov. Chris Gregoire asked Obama late last month to declare a federal disaster area in King County and 10 other Washington counties for damages and response costs from January storms.

Local governments could defray 75 percent of eligible disaster-related costs — such as debris removal — by using FEMA public assistance grants.

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Hazardous conditions impacted response to January storms

March 5, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. March 5, 2012

The battle against the elements created dangerous conditions for city crews during a snowstorm and a rare ice storm in January, officials said in a recent update on response to the storms.

City crews scrambled to keep pace as the storms battered Issaquah and the region. Sometimes, limbs crashed onto city streets mere moments after a snowplow scraped snow and ice from the surface.

“You’d clear a road, you’d come back down and you’d have to clear your way back out the same road,” Bret Heath, city Public Works Operations and emergency management director, said in a Feb. 28 briefing to the City Council. “Or you’d clear a road and you’d get a call from somebody else in the snowplow that said, ‘I thought you cleared this road.’ The answer is, well, we did. We were just there, but those trees were coming down so fast and frequent that it was impossible for awhile to stay on top of that.”

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