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Snow visits Phinney Ridge and Greenwood, more to come

Light snow started falling Tuesday afternoon across the neighborhood in a preview of what’s expected Wednesday and into Thursday, according to the weather report

Here it starts to blanket the play field at West Woodland Park near the corner of North 59th Street and Phinney Avenue North.

Mayor Mike McGinn put out a press release encouraging people to plan accordingly for a “difficult” Wednesday afternoon commute.

“The latest weather forecasts call for snowfall of 2 to 6 inches beginning Wednesday afternoon, followed by freezing temperatures through the end of the week. That pattern is very similar to the snowstorm that hit Seattle during Thanksgiving week last year. While we learned a lot and made improvements following that storm, it’s impossible to predict exactly where and how this week’s storm will hit hardest.

With that in mind, we are activating the city’s snow and ice plan. The Seattle Department of Transportation began by pre-treating streets with anti-icing solution today. Crews will go to 24-hour work shifts beginning Wednesday morning.

Because Wednesday afternoon’s commute is expected to be difficult, it may be a good day to work an alternate shift, telecommute or make other travel arrangements if possible.”

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) says that at 4 a.m. Wednesday, 10 snow plows will hit the streets in  North Seattle and another eight plows will work in South Seattle.

Starting at 9 a.m., SDOT will go into a full 24-hour response plan to keep roads open, buses moving and critical emergency services accessible.

The response plan calls for deploying 30 trucks with plows, which will be prepositioned throughout the city in key locations such as elevated structures and certain trouble spots on major arterials. The department starting pre-treating major roadways with salt brine this afternoon in preparation for the storm. Additional details concerning SDOT’s response will be forthcoming as more information about the impending storm becomes available…

As a reminder, property owners are responsible for clearing sidewalks adjacent to their properties after a snowstorm. SDOT encourages residents and businesses to have snow shovels and materials on-hand to keep walkways clear and safe for pedestrians.

Metro is urging bus riders to prepare for possible delays, and advises that you check out its Alert Center for status updates.

• Know the snow routing for your bus route. Check the timetables at Metro Online for snow route maps for each route. Not every bus route has snow routing, but most do.

• When buses are on snow routing, some streets and bus stops may be missed and there are often delays due to travel conditions. There is new snow routing in many areas that is different from past years, so be sure to check the snow routes for all the routes you use most often.

• If you haven’t already, sign up for Transit Alerts to keep up with any major changes to bus service. The alerts can be received as email or text messages. Go to www.kingcounty.gov/metro/snow to subscribe.

• Metro is using a new online color-coded map to keep riders informed of the status of its bus service, which can be found online at: www.kingcounty.gov/metro/snow. All bus routes are assigned into one or more of seven geographic areas within King County. When there is snow or ice on the roads, the service status of each area will be color coded and displayed on the online map. Green indicates buses are operating on normal routes; yellow that some – but not all – routes in the area are on snow routes (primarily in higher elevation areas); and red tells you that all bus routes in the entire geographic area are on snow routing.

• People without online access can call the Customer Information Office at (206) 553-3000. General information about service will also be sent out via the kcmetrobus Twitter account.

• Be patient. Buses are not always on schedule in snowy or icy conditions. And, increased ridership during bad weather can result in crowded buses and a longer-than-usual wait on the phone for the Customer Information Office.

• Dress warmly for the walk to the bus stop, expect delays, and wear appropriate footwear for the weather.

• Head for bus stops on main arterials or at major transfer points such as park-and-ride lots, transit centers, or shopping centers.

• Riders should wait at bus stops at the very top or very bottom of hills, because buses are often unable to stop for passengers on inclines.

And finally, Seattle Public Utilities advises that you put out your garbage, recycling and yard waste like normal Wednesday morning.

If your collection is missed, please leave your materials out for one more day. If your materials still have not been collected by 5 p.m. Thursday, please bring them inside until your next regularly scheduled pickup day.

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