March 19, 2009

Snow expose and other items

The Seattle Times has a nice story on the poor snow removal of the December 2008 snows. Check out:

and KIRO TV is doing their storm special again at 10 PM.

Nice example of rainshadowing today NE of the Olympics (both in the radar AND the visible satellite picture). Those retirees in Sequim may be golfing in the sun right now, while I had to bike in in the rain! The models handle this kind of situation well...take a look at the 3-h precipitation ending 10 AM....


  1. Excellent article, thank you. I live downtown and work at one of the hospitals on First Hill. I was absolutely amazed that the routes from downtown to the major hospitals were never plowed! I walked every day until it melted, but I was lucky because most of my coworkers were sleeping at the hospital, some for 5 or 6 days straight, and most of us worked mandatory overtime because a lot of staff couldn't ever make it in. An absolute disaster as far as public health and safety.

  2. Thanks for the link to the Times article. It reminded me of why it is a shame the newspapers haven't figured out a way to earn enough revenue to keep publishing articles like that.

    But, no need to rehash all the bad Seattle snow experiences here on this blog! ;D

    Let's all just look ahead to the spring rains and flooding!

  3. Jim...the reason to rehash is now we have the fix the situation. Those knowledgeable in weather and past climatology have to be involved in the political process to make sure the december disaster doesn't happen again..cliff

  4. From what the article says, it sounds like not ALL the plows were out plowing like they should of been. And to read about some of them sitting idle....well I`m sure there were some unhappy Seattle folks to see/find out that there street was`nt being plowed so they could get to work or where ever they had to go.

  5. Cliff makes a great point. Rehashing is often necessary and required to achieve action where needed. I have emailed my legislators about the coastal radar, and it looks like many others' have as well...if we were to just fold-over and assume..."oh someone else is doing it..." we may never be heard. Rehashing might not be the best word...perhaps objective, critical feedback by asking others and first and then telling. We need to build up others and get work done. Cliff...thanks for your sheer resolve.

  6. The only way we can facilitate change is by hashing, rehashing, and hashing again. Some of us have been working on the coastal radar issue for a decade...and only now do we see light at the end of the tunnel. Persistence is often the key to eventual success.

  7. Hey Cliff,
    I checked Accuweather and for the weekend forecast. Thinking about doing some snowshoeing this weekend. Both sites had headlines about a Pacific storm that will hit Western Washington and Oregon this weekend. What's the deal with this storm? Is it shaping up to hit Seattle, or will it go south of us?
    -- Anna

  8. Bravo Cliff! I LOVED how the article totally destroyed the City's skewing of weather stats too. Recalling how many citizens were convinced that the City was being totally straight with them because either
    a) it hadn't snowed this much in 20+ years (totally false)
    b) under the umbrella of environmentalism we're doing little to nothing.

    Wrong and wrong, nice to have the Times shine a light on the big reason behind the problems in the snow: INCOMPETENCE.

    Keep shining that light! Reading about the problems with the city's emergency response command structure this should concern anyone who cares about or is in the business of disaster preparedness. The same rank incompetence could send us up the creek in a major earthquake (not the 2001 dress rehearsal) or a variety of other disasters.

  9. Hey Cliff....either it wasn`t raining when left for work or you took the chance at dogging the showers in hopes of staying dry! :o)

    How far do you have to bike when you bike to work?

  10. I can't get behind a large investment into snow removal. We shouldn't try to remove every single inconvenience (or pain) in our lives. Such thinking is simply too costly. Maybe we can prioritize snow clearing a little better. Maybe we do need 1 more snow plow, but we can not try to match the abilities of places that are more experienced and structured for snow removal. They have something that we don’t have; a lot of snow. These places have huge investments in equipment both public and private. Cliff, you mentioned once that contractors handle a large part of snow removal. Yes, they are mostly young men with pickups and a snow plow that they use on a regular basis to earn extra money for plowing driveways and parking lots. Private equipment around here is non-existent and could never be justified. Therefore the entire investment would be public for equipment that would have to be maintained year round for… How many days per year? Maybe ZERO on some years? I would rather pay for a nicer park than a plow.

  11. How about a snow removal tax? People want action, Are they are willing to pay up? Will the Blethens and the Times ask it's readers for an additional fee or do they feel the city should cut something from the budget to pay overtime and hire additional operators and equipment?

  12. This article set me wondering about the PDO. Is there a way to predict it shifting? It seems this would help us be prepared for future winter conditions in the lowlands.

  13., we really can't predict the PDO. Regarding the comments of mainstreet...snow removal will save huge amount of money. Consider the loss of economic activity during the snow was huge. The city's loss of tax revenue was far larger than the costs of being prepared. The city would not have to spend anything to do much better...they just were ill prepared and disorganized!

  14. That there is so much hand wringing over the snow removal issue shows just how removed the people of the Pacific Northwest are from true human suffering or disaster. The December snow was an inconvenience for people who apparently have not caught on to how government tends to mess up everything. Can one listen to the news and still have faith in government at any level?
    Sure someone should buy some more plows but they will be vulnerable to the same issues as any government endeavor.


Please make sure your comments are civil. Name calling and personal attacks are not appropriate.

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