City crews plowed snow from some south Bellevue streets above 500 feet in elevation Monday morning. But the bigger concern is that temperatures expected to dip into the 20s overnight will create icy conditions for the Tuesday morning commute and into Wednesday.
Drivers should be aware of water refreezing on city roads and take it slow, leaving plenty of distance to stop. Pedestrians are advised to wear shoes with good traction to avoid slipping on the ice.
In addition to falling temperatures, the forecast calls for the possibility of more snow overnight Monday, as well as the potential for significant snow and wind on Thursday. Forecasters will know more as the weather system moves into the area.
Staff from the Transportation, Utilities, Parks and Civic Services departments remain on standby. After spraying an anti-icer Sunday night on some roads prone to icing up, crews will monitor streets today and re-apply the solution if needed.
Responding to snow and ice can be challenging in Bellevue, where elevations vary from near sea level to more than 1,400 feet in the hills south of Interstate 90.
The city's fleet of seven four-by-four vehicles and eight larger, five-yard capacity trucks is generally sufficient to plow snow at higher elevations. In the event of a citywide storm, however, priority routes used by emergency vehicles will take precedence over streets in residential neighborhoods.A snow response priority map shows which city streets will be plowed first. The focus is to do the most good for the most people.
Here are some tips and resources for dealing with ice and snow:
- Get ready: Create an emergency preparedness kit with a three-day supply of non-perishable food and water for home and office, make a plan and practice the plan with your family, get your house ready for cold weather and take precautions with pets. More resources are available at Take Winter by Storm;
- Reporting trouble: Only call 911 for life-threatening emergencies. Call the city's Operations and Maintenance Support line at 425-452-7840 to report trees or other hazards in the roadway;
- Driving: Prepare for difficult commutes if roads are icy, plan your routes, and avoid peak commute hours if possible. Drive only if necessary and go slow, allowing extra following distance. Have traction devices in your vehicle and test new chains to make sure they fit. Treat dark intersections as four-way stops;
- Power outages: If you lose power, to prevent poisoning from carbon monoxide, NEVER use a gas or charcoal grill indoors, and NEVER use a generator indoors; only use outdoors far from open windows or vents. Call Puget Sound Energy at 1-888-225-5773 to report a power outage; you can also report it online and check an outage map at PSE;
- Warming centers: The public is welcome to come to Bellevue's four community centers (Crossroads, Highland, North Bellevue and South Bellevue) during regular hours of operations. Addresses and hours are available;
- Garbage collection: If snow prevents the safe collection of curbside garbage, recycling, or organics, please remove carts from the street by the end of the day. On your next scheduled collection day, up to twice the regular amount of material will be collected at no additional charge. Questions should be directed to city's solid waste provider, Republic Services, at 425-452-4762; and
- Stay informed: Bellevue uses various social media channels and its website to inform the public during storms and other emergencies. Visit the city home page for updated information during a storm, or sign up for email notifications on the Extreme Weather Response page, where there are links to emergency preparedness pages on a range of topics.
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