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January 19, 1998

Front Page

Northshore gets off easy in snow storm


Photo by Andrew Walgamott

The three inches of snow that fell last week on the Northshore area lasted just long enough for a few snowmen to be built. By Tuesday morning most of the snow and ice were disappearing.


Photo by Andrew Walgamott

Traffic was lighter on Northshore roads as drivers heeded the warnings of snow and either stayed home or left work early.

  by Andrew Walgamott
   About three inches of snow fell in the Northshore area last Monday afternoon and evening before temperatures rose on Tuesday, turning roads snowmobilers had ridden on overnight to slush. Still, the snowfall, mixed with a week of low temperatures, created problems while it lasted. "It presented its challenges, no question about it. It was cold, and snow hitting the road didn't take too long to compact. But it was short-lived and manageable," said Rochelle Ogershok, King County Roads Division spokesperson.
   Among traffic problems, Novelty Hill Road between Duvall and Redmond was closed for a time after a truck jackknifed there Monday afternoon, Ogershok said. The road between Kingsgate and Chateau Ste. Michelle, N.E. 143rd St. (Winery Hill,) was blocked by between six and eight abandoned vehicles, Woodinville police said.
   In Bothell, portions of 120th Ave. N.E. were reported closed for about an hour-and-a-half. Elsewhere, a Bothell man was transported to Harborview with chest injuries when he ran into the back of a truck on 228th Ave. S.E. Bothell Fire and EMS spokesperson Cathleen Wiggins reported two accidents on I-405 Monday night requiring transport to area hospitals. There were also two calls for fall victims, both attributed to snow or ice. Just to the east, Woodinville Fire and Life Safety Deputy Chief Dominic Marzano reported a slow evening Monday with a few automatic fire alarms and several minor traffic accidents.
   It was a night for taking it easy, both on the road and for government. Snowmobiles were heard passing up and down 156th Ave. N.E. near the White Stallion in Woodinville later in the evening. The Woodinville and Bothell city councils didn't take chances with the storm, canceling their normal Monday night meetings. Woodinville City Clerk Sandra Steffler said the city manager and mayor made the decision to cancel the meeting at about 3:45 p.m. Monday, about 45 minutes after snow began falling in town.
   The concern carried into Tuesday when the Northshore School District delayed secondary students an hour and elementary classes an hour-and-a-half. Pamela Steele, district communications director, said some parents had trouble finding out whether their students were going to school. "Our biggest problem was that the computer we use to communicate with the media went down," Steele said, forcing the district to manually call television and radio news stations which in turn had to manually collate districts' snow schedules. Steele said in the future parents with questions on weathers' effect on the district can call 489-6001. She said the line provides "accurate information very quickly."
   Northshore residents are becoming smarter snow drivers. "I think people are more aware of how to deal with snow; even though it's pretty, it's very dangerous," Marzano said. Motorists were advised to drive slower and leave more space between themselves and the vehicle in front of them in news reports.
   Woodinville Police Sgt. Clint Olson reported that he had expected an active night but by about 7:30 p.m. Monday, traffic had all but died out. "There was enough warning that people took action and stayed off the roads," Olson said. Marzano noticed that the industrial area along 144th Ave. N.E. in Woodinville emptied in the afternoon, before too much snow began piling up.
   Road crews were able to deal with the brief period of snow that came at the end of a cold snap. "Clearly, warmer temperatures and the snow stopping allowed [sanding and plowing] crews to make headway overnight," Ogershok said. In Bothell, police began clearing disabled vehicles Tuesday morning, removing four blocking cars between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m., according to an officer.
   As temperatures rose and forecasters predicted rain, the county focused on the possibility of flooding. "We'll have to keep an eye on standing water, urban flooding and that menu of possibilities," Ogershok said.