One of the biggest snowstorms in decades hit the Pacific Northwest last week bringing over a foot of snow to Lake Stevens along with power outages, sliding cars and icy streets along both city and county roads.
Sleds and snow clothes were brought to the forefront as kids from Lake Stevens schools were granted an extra four-day vacation to add to their Martin Luther King holiday.
Both the City of Lake Stevens’ Public Works department and Snohomish County had their trucks revved and ready to push the ongoing snow off the main roads so that people could get to grocery stores, gas stations and even work.
In Lake Stevens a crew of nine kept the four city snow plows busy all week. Each of the crew would work 12-hour shifts for days at a time.
“We have four trucks and we have run three of them 24-hours a day since Saturday,” City of Lake Stevens Public Works Director Mick Monken said. “We always have one truck in reserve and ready. We had over 200 yards of material sand, we put down 260 yards, which was a lot more than we have used in the past storms, even after the annexation.”
While the city did receive phone calls regarding some of the neighborhood roads, calls were at a minimum.
“I would have to say it has gone as well as could be expected. It’s pretty challenging. We had minimal complaints,” Monken said. “When we did get complaints we notified the people of our snow plans. For us, working 24-hours a day, we were able to just manage our main roads and some of our secondary roads. It gives you an idea of how severe this storm was.”
The county also did their best to keep up with the storm, keeping as many services as possible open for county residents.
“We’re working diligently to keep offices open, roads cleared and county services available to residents,” said Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon.
About 40 county trucks, graders and plows have been on the streets since snow started falling last Saturday, Jan. 14.
Crews, working around the clock to keep main arterials clean and when possible secondary roads throughout the county, have plowed more than 6,000 miles of roadway and applied more than 2,000 tons of sand.
The county is responsible for about 1,550 miles of roadway but due to worsening weather has hit many streets more than once.
Additional crews have been removing downed trees, and portions of the Mt. Loop Highway and Kellogg Lake Road have been closed due to safety concerns.
“There’s still work to be done, so we’re asking residents to be patient as we continue plowing,” said Steve Thomsen, the county’s Public Works director.
Both the county and the city prepare the best they can for winter weather.
Each fall, Snohomish County’s Road Maintenance Division inspects and preps trucks for potential snowstorms. The county also stockpiles sand, which it uses to de-ice roadways.
“We’ve been through this before and we know what preparations to take for inclement weather such as this week’s snowstorm,” Reardon said. “Departments have been working together to prepare for the snow and that work is evident.”