Many Eastside residents woke up to a winter wonderland on Jan. 13, and snow continued to fall throughout the day.
Some Eastside cities received more snow than others, but the Seattle Weather Forecast Office of the National Weather Service (NWS), by the Reporter’s Monday print, predicted there wouldn’t be much more accumulation that day, maybe up to an inch in some localized areas.
According to NWS meteorologist Gary Schneider, Bothell received between four and seven inches of snow overnight Sunday and into Monday morning. Kenmore received one to three inches during that time period, he said.
Schneider explained that there was a pretty sharp line between Bothell and Kenmore, with up to seven inches in Bothell further north into south Snohomish County but dropping off pretty quickly to only about two or three inches reported in the Kenmore area.
With the first snow of the season, school districts throughout the Eastside canceled and delayed classes Jan. 13.
In the Northshore School District (NSD), school closures were announced at 5:42 a.m.
“All NSD schools are closed today, Monday, January 13. No after-school or evening school activities, athletics or band/orchestra. No out-of-district transportation,” the district said in a release on Monday. “The school board meeting scheduled for 4 p.m. today has been canceled due to inclement weather. All items on the agenda for this meeting will be moved to the agenda for the 7 p.m. meeting on Jan. 27, 2020.”
Emergencies such as inclement weather, power outages and hazardous road conditions can alter school schedules and affect bus transportation. The decision to close or delay schools is made by the superintendent as early as possible, usually around 5:30 a.m. Early dismissals will occur only if a delay in dismissal significantly increases hazards.
The decision process for closing or delaying school follows a strict guideline.
NSD monitors NOAA weather forecasts the day before a storm is predicted and during the early morning hours. The Winter Watch Committee is notified of the possibility of weather issues and prepares for road evaluations. A district dispatcher is notified at about 3 a.m. by district staff who work the graveyard shift if weather affects road conditions. The dispatcher then notifies Winter Watch Committee members around 3 a.m. to begin road evaluations and report by 4:15 a.m.
Winter Watch Committee members drive around five sectors of the district checking on road and traffic conditions (downed tree limbs, electrical lines or road hazards), walking conditions, driveway and parking lot conditions and whether buildings are functional (electricity, heat, etc.) and report by 4:15 a.m.
Committee members rate 8-12 key areas of their routes on a four-point scale: 1 – normal, 2 – minimal hazards present, 3 – moderate (difficult to negotiate) and 4 – severe (very hazardous).
At about 4:15 a.m. a recommendation about school operations is made based on the weather forecast, current weather conditions, input from neighboring districts and driving conditions. At that time, the chief operations officer is notified of the conditions and consults with the superintendent. The superintendent makes the final decision.
“Monday Jan.13; NSD Schools closed today. Stay warm and safe,” Superintendent Dr. Michelle Reid said on Twitter at 5:21 a.m. Monday.
In the event of a closure or delay, the district contacts families and staff using an automated messaging system via phone, text, email and/or mobile app push notification.
According to the city of Bothell’s website, which was most recently updated at 11 a.m. on Jan. 13, the public works department currently has seven snow plows out and running in response to the weather.
Updates can be found on the city’s social media pages.
City offices are currently closed; they are due to be open Tuesday, Wednesday and the rest of the week.
Events and other Bothell-affiliated gatherings are continuing on as scheduled, including the city council meeting.
All roads are open. Most neighborhoods, however, have not been plowed. Updates on road conditions can be found at tinyurl.com/wjblj8w.
The city is recommending that residents remove snow on waste containers to prevent waste-collection delays.
Many parks-related resources are closed, including bathrooms. Recreation classes and games at the North Creek sports field have been canceled.
The dog park at Bothell City Hall, however, remains open.
City manager Rob Karlinsey shared a statement on the weather over email.
“Thanks to temperatures hovering slightly above freezing today [Jan. 13], Kenmore’s crews were able to plow the snow off city streets quickly,” he said. “However, the roads are still wet, and with temperatures dipping into the 20s tonight and tomorrow, roads are going to be slick. With the icy road conditions, we encourage people to stay off the roads. If you must drive, go very slow and have good traction tires. Please shovel your sidewalks before they turn into a skating rink, and please offer a hand to your neighbors. This snow event is not over.”
For more information about snow and ice in Kenmore go to: http://www.kenmorewa.gov/snow-
Go to Kenmore’s Twitter and Facebook pages for other updates.