Wednesday, December 24, 2008
10 AM Update
Wet snow is still hanging on in central Puget Sound...but precip has switched to rain in parts of NW Washington (e.g., north Whidbey, Bellingham) and in the south sound near Tacoma. The profiler at Seattle Sand Point shows temps near 32F in the lower atmosphere...classic melting pattern (see figure, height is in meters, temp in C--really something called virtually temp which is .5 to 1 C above the actual temperature). Above 800 m I would not believe it. Times are in GMT--17 GMT is 9 AM.
A place that can remain snow and really get more accumulation is the Kitsap...so if you are in the lower hood canal area...be ready.
The character of the precipitaiton will change in next few hours from steady to more showery as the firs disturbance moves through. We will probably warm enough to make the showers rain below 500 ft...but if there intensity is enough snow can come back.
Snow Removal (if you don't like this stuff don't read it!)
Lots of you have commented about the lamentable snow removal in the city. Anyway, if I was the "snow czar" this is what I would do:
1. Acquire and be ready to use salt on the roads.
2. Triple the number of snowplows and use steel blades instead of the rubber ones. These units can be placed on city trucks. If necessary, contract with the private sector for more equipment, as they do in the eastern U.S. for snow emergencies.
3. Change the snow removal strategy to the immediate removal of snow off primary and secondary roads so we don't end up with thick, chunky ice we have today. Don't let it accumulate and freeze.
4. Work with Metro to establish a rational snow strategy. This would include moving buses to routes where they won't be endangered until the roads are cleared. Thus, you don't take so many buses off the roads or abandon them, but redirect them strategically before they get stuck. Have MORE buses on some routes (such as major routes in and out of downtown).
5. Make sure Metro's online bus tracker web pages are robust enough to handle the load. It is critical that the population knows where the buses in real time. We have the technology to do this--they just haven't sized their computer servers properly. And the bus tracker software should be made more prominent...not hidden as the current approach.
Posted by Cliff Mass at 9:56 AM