Winter arrived on December 21st and with it, our first taste of snow. With La Nina in place offering the strong likelihood of cooler than average temperatures and wetter than normal precipitation, the North Sound may get more significant snow moving through early 2021. 

Snohomish County Public Works is ready to respond and has some helpful reminders for any winter weather that strikes the area and impacts county roads. Road Maintenance is responsible for about 1,600 total miles of roads and hence, a priority of roads that crews work to keep clear of snow and ice.


The top priority is primary routes based on traffic volume, bus routes, terrain and experience with problem areas. Emergencies involving life safety during a winter storm may change these top priority guidelines. To keep these

primary routes passable, multiple snowplow passes and road treatments may be required.


All other routes will be addressed on priority, existing resources, and weather conditions. Public Works staff note prioritization does not change based on public calls requesting service.


Road Maintenance uses an anti-icing liquid – Calcium Chloride – in pre-determined areas when weather conditions and forecasts are appropriate for this kind of treatment. These efforts help to keep roads from icing up just in advance of the winter weather.


Other reminders include giving snowplows and deicer equipment plenty of room to perform their jobs. Allow at least 200 feet of following distance and if you must pass, use extreme caution and be aware of displaced snow, ice and sand spray.


If snow is in the weather forecast, move your vehicle(s) off the street and park them in driveways and garages so the snowplows can more effectively finish routes in a timely manner. For major arterials and emergency routes, vehicles in travel lanes and blocking traffic may be towed at owner’s expense.


Avoid clearing snow from driveways into the street, creating a hazardous condition. Move snow to the side of driveways and sidewalks instead. Also clear snow from drainage inlets near your home to help reduce the chance of melting ice and snow pooling and flooding. Keep trash bins off streets when roads are covered with snow and ice as well.


Snohomish County Public Works has a snow and Ice webpage for road closure information for unincorporated areas and more. And they have a new snow removal and anti-icing map that shows which routes are primary and secondary roads, and allows you to view what county roads have been recently plowed, sanded or had anti-icing applied.  


Public Works Road Maintenance staff operates within COVID-19 safety protocol for everyone’s safety. They remind everyone to please remain at least six feet away from Public Works staff.  


Have your car ready for winter weather including tires with plenty of tread, and stow a shovel, kitty litter, blankets, food and water in your vehicle in case you find yourself struggling with winter weather driving conditions. Another good option is to stay home during snowy weather. Be sure to bookmark and use the weather page for your local Snohomish County forecast. Have a safe winter weather season and as always, when you are weather aware, you are weather prepared.

North Sound Meteorologist Ted Buehner worked more than 40 years for the National Weather Service (NWS) from 1977 to 2018. He is now an Everett Post Media team member. Together with Everett Post Weather Minute Podcasts, he provides morning and afternoon commute traffic and weather updates on both KRKO and KXA Radio, and sports reporting on KRKO.