Forecasters expect 1 to 2 inches of snow in Seattle on Sunday and into early Monday, and slightly more in outlying areas. Monday morning will bring a brief break before the snow is expected to return and continue into Tuesday.
It’s not over yet.
Storms have delivered more snow to Seattle in the first days of February than we usually get in a year and weather forecasters are warning there’s more to come.
The Seattle area will likely see several inches of new snow Sunday evening and Monday morning, with even more possible on Tuesday.
For transplants from more frigid states — or our neighbors east of the Cascades — the numbers may seem small, but the recent snow has ground Seattle to a near halt that could last several more days.
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Local and state officials have warned people to stay off the roads whenever possible and bus service has been significantly scaled back. With fewer people commuting over the weekend, the changes have been a manageable setback for many. But the possibility of snowy conditions stretching into Monday and Tuesday threatens to disrupt work and school across the region.
Most areas of Seattle woke up to at least 4 inches of snow Saturday morning, with more in some parts of north and south Seattle. Outside the city, about 8 inches of snow piled up at Sea-Tac International Airport and the storm hammered the Olympic Peninsula with more than a foot of snow near Sequim.
Snow tapered off in much of the region Saturday afternoon and is expected to restart Sunday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service. Temperatures in the teens overnight Saturday could cause black ice on roads.
Forecasters expect 1 to 2 inches of snow in Seattle on Sunday and into early Monday and slightly more in outlying areas. Monday morning will bring a brief break before the snow returns and continues into Tuesday, the National Weather Service predicts. Forecasters say it’s too soon to say just how much snow may arrive Monday and Tuesday.
The snowfall at Sea-Tac alone has already exceeded Seattle’s annual average, and this has been the city’s snowiest February since 1949. That year, 13.1 inches of snow were recorded in February. As of Saturday morning, Seattle had more than 10 inches of snow this month, the Weather Service said.
Kids and adults alike took advantage of the snow to sled and ski down neighborhood streets and build snowmen Saturday.
On the Alki waterfront, Heather Moir and her partner Brandon Stogsdill attracted a lot of attention — and photographers — with a more unusual snow sculpture: a life-size sea lion.
“What do you think?” Stogsdill asked, standing back to survey the creation as a sharp wind blew in off the water. “Should we have bigger flippers on the front?”
It was meant to be a dinosaur, he explained. But Moir pointed out that it looked more like a seal, so they decided to run with the pinniped theme. With its arched back, rock eyes and twigs for whiskers, the finished product looked remarkably true to form — except for the color.
Baltimore natives Ian and Colleen Robbins spent much of their Saturday walking around West Seattle, stopping for coffee and taking pictures of snowmen and other wintry figures.
“We joked that the population increased because of all the snowmen,” Colleen said.
On Northeast 70th Street, young people made the most of a road closure.
“It’s really fun. You can go super fast,” 14-year-old Gunnar Rindil said as he held his sled. He was looking forward to more opportunities, with more snow in the forecast and the possibility of school closures.
The prospect of makeup days in June didn’t bother him.
“It’s more fun sledding,” he said.
Meanwhile, officials worked to clear roads and prepare for more snow.
Gov. Jay Inslee expanded an emergency declaration he issued Friday to exempt more drivers delivering emergency supplies from certain rules about how many hours they can be on the road.
Seattle Public Schools hadn’t indicated Saturday whether schools would be closed Monday.
Bus riders faced significant route reductions that will continue at least through Sunday, possibly longer.
King County Metro is running just 60 core routes and shuttles on its Emergency Snow Network. Overnight Friday, dozens of buses got stuck, the agency said. Other buses are being repaired due to damage caused by snow chains and other issues.
Metro spokesman Jeff Switzer said it was too soon to speculate what service will look like for the Monday morning commute, but ongoing reduced service is possible.
“We’re seeing a string of days ahead of us where freezing temperatures are going to persist” and road conditions may not improve, Switzer said. “That signals we are looking at reduced service for a while. What level of service that is, we’re going to have to take it day to day.”
The county will review conditions at 10 a.m. each day to plan for the following day.
Sound Transit’s Link light rail operated on its usual schedule Saturday, as crews worked to keep stations clear of snow and several trains ran overnight to keep tracks clear, spokesman Scott Thompson said. ST Express buses are running on snow routes with some delays.
Sounder commuter trains are expected to run Monday morning, Thompson said. That could change if conditions worsen, particularly if freezing temperatures interfere with switches on the tracks. Thompson said the agency won’t know with certainty whether Sounder service can continue until the early morning hours of Monday.
“You’re trying to plan as best you can, but you really don’t know until you get there,” Thompson said.
The storm has also strained the agencies that provide services for the more than a thousand people in King County who live outside. A 59-year-old man who may have been homeless died from exposure at the Sodo light-rail station this week.
More than 170 people stayed at the city’s overnight shelter in Seattle Center on Friday night, “well above capacity,” said Will Lemke, spokesman for the city’s Navigation Team, which does outreach to people living outside. Along with existing shelters, the city has opened Garfield Community Center as a shelter for adults, families with children and people living in vehicles.
“If you want to be inside, we will make it work,” Lemke said.
Daniel Malone, executive director of the Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC), was preparing Saturday afternoon to drive around picking up DESC employees who were having trouble reaching work at shelters and other programs.
As housing costs have increased in Seattle, DESC’s hundreds of employees live farther from the core of the city, he said.
If conditions don’t let up in coming days, the agency may seek public help transporting its employees to work, Malone said. “These are folks who are really dedicated to their jobs, but you wonder how long people will be able to sustain that extraordinary effort.”
Malone encouraged people who are concerned about someone they see sleeping outside to ask if the person is OK or needs help, and to call 211 to find out about available shelters.
Seattle Times staff reporters Sandi Doughton and Steve Miletich contributed to this story.