Snohomish County crews shift from snowplowing to deicing as temperatures fall

A tow truck removes a vehicle involved in a collision at the intersection of 76th Avenue West and Highway 104 Sunday.

With temperatures expected to fall below 20 degrees Fahrenheit Sunday night, Snohomish County said its crews are now focusing on deicing operations.

The county reported that its road maintenance crews have plowed 10,674 miles, sanded 2,504 miles, and have used more than 600 tons of sand and salt since Christmas morning. With temperatures expected to fall below 20 degrees Fahrenheit Sunday night, crews are now focusing on deicing operations, the county said.

“As snow showers decrease and temperatures drop, we will see more icy conditions on the roadways,” said Public Works Director Kelly Snyder. “We have plenty of salt and sand on hand and our crews will continue working to improve traction for motorists.”

Overnight temperatures throughout the week are expected to remain below freezing. Crews will continue to plow, sand and deice priority routes and secondary routes until temperatures rise and conditions return to normal. Once the snow stops, crews can finish clearing and sanding the priority routes and begin making their way to tertiary streets. Drivers are asked to check their travel routes and options before heading out today or during a snow and ice event.

For those venturing through unincorporated Snohomish County, visit the Public Works Snow and Ice webpage for road closure information and more. The new snow removal and anti-icing map shows which routes are primary and secondary and allows residents to see what county roads have been recently plowed, sanded or had anti-icing applied.

The prioritization of snow and ice routes are based on traffic volume, transit and school bus routes, terrain, and knowledge of problem areas. The prioritization does not change based on public calls – even multiple calls – requesting service.

The county also notes that during snow/ice weather events, it’s important to:

  • Know who to call and when:
  • Give snowplows and deicer equipment plenty of room to work. Allow for a minimum following distance of 200 feet.
  • If you must pass, take extreme caution and beware of the displaced snow and ice, or sand spray.
  • Vehicles parked along all major arterials and emergency routes must be moved off the street. Those vehicles left in the travel lane of a roadway and blocking traffic may be towed at the owner’s expense. It is recommended for vehicles to be moved when snow is in the forecast. Parking vehicles in the driveway and off the road helps the snowplows finish routes more quickly and efficiently.
  • Residents clearing driveways and snow berms are advised to pile the snow to the left side as you face the house, especially closer to the road. This prevents the snowplow blade from pushing the material back into the driveway. Throwing snow onto the road creates obstructions in the roadway and can be hazardous.
  • Keep drainage inlets near your home clear of leaves and debris during the winter months to help reduce the chance of flooding.
  • Try to keep garbage bins and other obstacles out of the street when the roads are icy or covered with snow.
  • Obey road closed signs.
  • Be sure to have vehicles mechanically prepared for cold weather. Have tire chains or traction tires readily available.
  • Keep food, water and medical supplies in your home that will last at least one week. Pay attention to weather reports and plan ahead for even longer periods of time.

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