Snowstorm in Seattle!

January 20, 2012 | Category: Cars, Cities, Seattle, Travel, Trees, Washington

The past few days here in Seattle, after an unseasonably warm winter, we finally got slammed with an awesome snowstorm!!! πŸ˜€ Schools were cancelled for the rest of the week, very few people actually went to work, and Seattle practically shut down.

and it was the most fun I’ve had in ages! πŸ˜€

Me having a blast hiking in the snow

Me having a blast hiking in the snow

So it doesn’t snow much here in Seattle. This part of the country is weird. We get a lot of rain, but rarely do we get storms. There’s water in almost every direction, but it’s not humid here. We’re 3 hours away from Canada where everyone lives in igloos, πŸ˜‰ but it rarely dips below freezing, even in the wintertime. If you go east over the mountains, then you get the traditional bitterly cold winters and all that jazz. But here? Nope. Moderate.

So you can imagine my excitement when we actually started to get some snow falling Saturday night/Sunday morning!

My car Sunday morning

My car Sunday morning

Being at work was great and it looked really beautiful there.

Our dealership starts getting snow Sunday

Our dealership starts getting snow Sunday

While I was there, I had some time to experiment with how different cars perform in the snow. AWD, FWD, RWD, with traction control on and with traction control off, AWD lock, etc… and it’s amazing how much of an effect the different setups have!

Remnants of my testing different cars' snow traction

Remnants of my testing different cars' snow traction

Traction control is definitely awesome. Turn traction control off on a 3.8L RWD Genesis Coupe, crank the wheel, and floor it… Yeah… that’s an experience! It was fun, and it left my heart pounding afterwards. πŸ˜€

It’s really great having the opportunity to learn what it’s like, and how to maintain control in different situations. Starting slow, and gradually speeding up, never actually getting dangerously out of control.

I wasn’t the only one having fun in the snow. πŸ™‚

Birdy footprints in the snow

Birdy footprints in the snow

My new iPhone 4S has a front-facing camera too, so I had a chance to play with that. πŸ™‚

Ariel at the dealership

Ariel at the dealership

Monday we continued to get some snow. Not a lot, but some soft falling. The flakes were really big, some as big as a golf ball! Fluffy and soft. They didn’t have much taste… :p

Tuesday was pretty similar, but it started to pick up a bit.

Snow falling more heavily at the dealership on Tuesday

Snow falling more heavily at the dealership on Tuesday

One thing that was supernice in the afternoon was that at one point, the clouds broke and the sun shined down. I was in the back of the lot then and with the sun behind me, this beautiful glow was cast down over the cars on the lot. I loved it!!

The clouds break to let the sun shine on the snow-covered cars

The clouds break to let the sun shine on the snow-covered cars

While we were at work Tuesday, we spent almost all day watching radar maps. They were talking about this huge storm that was coming in from the coast. Though weather is really hard to predict here in Seattle for some reason, they were predicting 5-8″ of snow. For us that’s HUGE!

Fortunately Wed and Thurs are my days off work, so I didn’t have to go to work. The past few days, my manager, who lives in the mountains in North Bend, had been leaving his Veloster with its low profile tires at work and had been driving a used Santa Fe AWD we had. Definitely a good decision on his part! Some of the other people also did the same thing going home Tuesday…

Now WEDNESDAY was the day we got SLAMMED!

I woke up repeatedly that night, excitedly peeking out the window at the constantly increasing snow, then going right back to sleep.

It was… yeah…

My car covered in snow

My car covered in snow

I normally leave to work around 8:10am or so and there’s usually a bunch of cars that are already gone.

Today I went out to the parking lot around 10:30am, and this is what I saw:

My car Wednesday morning after the big snowfall, along with most every other car

My car Wednesday morning after the big snowfall, along with most every other car

SNOW!!

Have you noticed how full the parking area is? In my area of the neighborhood, with the exception of literally just one car, EVERYONE WAS STILL HERE!!

No one was going to work today…

Curious how the roads were looking, I pulled up the traffic cameras to take a look.

Downtown? Yep. Snow.

Traffic Camera - Denny, Stewart, and Yale

Traffic Camera - Denny, Stewart, and Yale

Down on Montlake in the U District where I used to live, yep. Snow. With a snowplow caught on camera.

Traffic Camera - Montlake

Traffic Camera - Montlake

Down on I-5, one of the major highways here, the roads were pretty snowy, but the plows were doing a good job:

Traffic Camera - I-5 and 145th

Traffic Camera - I-5 and 145th

About 2 miles south, down on 1st Ave and Northgate way near I-5, here was the view:

Traffic Camera - 1st Ave and Northgate

Traffic Camera - 1st Ave and Northgate

Last year when it snowed and I had my Subaru, you better believe I took it out to go drive in the snow! This year, in my FWD Sonata Turbo, I kept my car in place and decided to got hut hut it on foot. πŸ™‚

Having taken my snow gear out of storage earlier that week, I busted out my winter arsenal and got dressed in snow pants, gaiters, traction devices, snow googles… the works!

It feels like it’s been forever since I’ve been hiking, much less got an opportunity to use my snow gear, so you better believe I made the most of it! πŸ˜‰

On the way out of my apartment complex, I ran into another guy walking out. He was carrying a sled behind him (like a husky dog in Alaska) and mentioned that he was going to the store to get more supplies.

Taking a sled to the store for more supplies

Taking a sled to the store for more supplies

From here I took a left towards Aurora, one of the big streets that runs parallel to I-5. (It’s a big street, similar to Alpharetta Highway, for those of you from Roswell, with lots of stores, car dealerships, and more. Our dealership is a few miles down this road.)

It’s so beautiful walking down this street! The crunch of snow beneath your feet. The blanket of snow carefully resting on top of tree branches. The sound of quiet and the buzz of cars as the drive past. The white white white everywhere. The variety of soft snow, slush, ice, etc. How it was mostly AWD vehicles on the road, and some FWD cars, several with chains. The white grayness of the sky. The calm. The simplicity. I really enjoyed the walk solo. πŸ™‚

Car tracks, foot tracks, and sled tracks towards Aurora

Car tracks, foot tracks, and sled tracks towards Aurora

One thing I noticed is that often times it’s hard to tell where the curb is. In this picture above it’s pretty easy, but often times with snow accumulation on the sides of the roads, you have to keep an eye out for what’s the road and what’s sidewalk. Both when walking down the street as well as when crossing a street.

Driving through the slush on Aurora

Driving through the slush on Aurora

We don’t have many true snow plows here in Seattle, especially compared to cities like Chicago. Often times 4×4 trucks will mount a blade to the front of the truck, like the one in the picture above, and turn into a snow plow when necessary.

After mozying around a shopping area for a minute or two, just to see how busy things were and if anything was opened (and surprisingly, quite a few places were!), I headed back towards my apartment.

Having taken my time slowly walking away from my apartment, I felt like running up the hill in my snow cleats. and that felt so good that I just kept jogging! I don’t know if it was the endorphins from the run, how good it feels when I exercise my body, the beauty of the snow, how much appreciation I had for all of it, but I don’t remember the last time I felt that good!!

Me having a blast hiking in the snow

Me having a blast hiking in the snow

Once I finally got back to my apartment, I cooked up a warm meal, and felt grateful for having power, heat, electricity, food, supplies, water, warm clothing, a roof over my head, a full tank of gas in my car, my backpacking stoves and food I can prepare without power just in case, and everything I needed.

The view out the back of my apartment

The view out the back of my apartment

The next day, Thursday, we continued to get not only snow, but now also freezing rain. With the temperatures down to a whopping 27 degrees that night (heh… and this was considered a record low!), the snow had start icing up. The snow had become more crusty.

My car Thursday, once freezing rain had fallen too

My car Thursday, once freezing rain had fallen too

One thing I really enjoy is being able to have an adventure close to home! It saves a lot of driving when the snow comes to you! πŸ˜‰

Donning my snow gear once again, I headed out for another hike.

Heading out my apartment complex

Heading out my apartment complex

God this place is so amazing in the snow…

Beautiful snow-covered trees

Beautiful snow-covered trees

People had kept talking about the snow. 2 inches. 4 inches. 5 inches. 8 inches. 12 inches. How deep was it?

Wednesday, the first day of the big dump of snow, I tried my official patent pending technique: Find an area of untouched snow and spear your hand into it, fingers first, and reach for the ground. Pulling my hand out, I estimated 4 inches.

I know most of you who live in snowier climates will go “4 inches? That’s nothing! Around here we get X!”

and you’re right, but for us that’s a lot! It’s all relative. πŸ™‚

Floating on top of about 1 inch of snow

Floating on top of about 1 inch of snow

Thursday, with the continued snowing, we got even more. Enough to sink in past my ankle, and even above the top of my boot! (Thank goodness for gaiters!)

Eye-balling it now, it’s about 8 inches or so.

Sinking down past my ankles in snow

Sinking down past my ankles in snow

So out for a hike today, the plan was just to go have fun, enjoy the experience, and see what I would discover. πŸ™‚

Before I even left the apartment complex, I already started finding snowmen!

Snowman and snowcat

Snowman and snowcat

This one even had a pet cat! πŸ˜€

Snowcat

Snowcat

Some of the snowmen were even more decorative.

Snowman with a scarf

Snowman with a scarf

Sometimes, it’s all about the details. πŸ™‚

Icicles hanging under the truck

Icicles hanging under the truck

Does it look like he’s making faces at you? πŸ™‚

You smile with that snow

You smile with that snow

I know I post a lot of pictures of my car, but I can’t get enough of this!

My snowy car loving the snow

My snowy car loving the snow

Out and about, taking a right out of the neighborhood, there were plenty of things to find!

A modded STI

A modded STI

Here’s a vehicle wearing the set of Z-chains I’ve used and really like. They’re easy to mount, work well, and you don’t have to stop to retighten them once they’re mounted.

I love this style of tire chains

I love this style of tire chains

Here’s a big full-size snow plow.

Snow plow

Snow plow

There was a mail truck at this little shopping area and the lady was getting her chains repaired. The previous day at a nearby speedbump, she’d damaged her chains. Today she broke them, so she had a truck driver come by to repair them for her.

Mail truck after getting her chains fixed

Mail truck after getting her chains fixed

She was really nice and friendly. When she saw me taking a picture after we finished talking, she rolled down her window to say that the mail was going to arrive, even if it would be a little late! πŸ˜€

I talked to the truck driver as well and though he was a little less happy, I thanked him for coming out and doing his part to help. πŸ™‚

Drive slow!

Drive slow!

Hiking down the street, I marveled at the fact that you can drive on snow, without your tires ever touching pavement. This is amazing to me. πŸ™‚

Cruisin' on the snow

Cruisin' on the snow

and I loved the way some of the homes were nestled into the snowy environment.

A cozy snowy home

A cozy snowy home

There was a neighborhood down the street so I felt like ducking in along the way.

Snowman with a tie and with hair

Snowman with a tie and with hair

When I saw these two snowmen, I LOL’d. πŸ˜€

Walking down the street, I said hello to another guy walking by who said he was going a bit stir crazy and needed to get out. He also mentioned he was getting a headache from lack of caffeine (Oh Seattle, lol…) , so I can only assume he was walking to one of the nearby coffee shops. πŸ˜€

This snowman even has buttons and arms

This snowman even has buttons and arms

Buttons!

One of the big highlights of this neighborhood was the goggle of kids playing. There were digging in the snow, sledding down hills, and just generally having a great time together while their parents watched. πŸ™‚

Little kids playing in the snow

Little kids playing in the snow

The kids sledding down the hill together were having fun, so I got a shot of them.

Sledding down the hill

Sledding down the hill

After shooting this, I started to turn around to continue on, but I felt this inner tugging to stay. Perhaps sensing my hesitation, one of the moms introduced herself to me and I met some of the other parents there. Cool people.

This probably sounds totally silly, but she noticed me watching the kids sledding down the hill and asked if I wanted to go as well, mentioning one of the extra sleds sitting idly at the bottom of the hill.

“I’m 27 years old. I’m not supposed to do kid things like that,” I thought.

“Sure, that sounds like fun!” I wound up responding. lol…

So I grabbed a sled and hiked up the snowy hill. Waiting for the kids to clear the way after their previous run, noticing how most of them wiped out on the curbs, I wanted patiently for a good time while eyeing the slopes and turns of the hill to try and figure out the best route, then kicked off and down I went.

The right curb! Leaning hard left, I tried to steer back into the street.

The left curb! I was successful at going left, but this only shot me sideways into the other side of the street. Unable to avoid the left curb, I wiped out when I hit the curb, and flew flat onto my back, almost as if I was making a snow angel. Relaxed and yet sliding down the hill on my back with a big grin on my face, I slid towards a fence as snow started to pour down into my neck.

Laughing at how ridiculous I felt (in a good way) for letting myself play like a little kid, I got up, brushed myself off, returned the sled, said thank you, and happily kept walking. πŸ˜€

Continuing down the street, I saw some other kids in the distance playing on an adjacent hill. They also had sleds. One even had a bike he was attempting to ride down the hill.

Bigger kids playing on another hill

Bigger kids playing on another hill

Speaking of hills, continuing walking down the street, on the other side of the street, there was another big hill. Much to my surprise, I saw people skiing down the hill!!

Skiing down the hill, and a driver waiting for the skiers to make it

Skiing down the hill, and a driver waiting for the skiers to make it

I love seeing people do silly stuff like ski in town. πŸ™‚

The guy at the bottom was waiting for his girl to come down.

There was a vehicle at the top of the hill. They waited patiently at the top for the people at the bottom to make it down before they started ever so slowly and carefully inching down the hill. (admittedlyΒ morbidly curious, I stayed to watch the truck come down, wondering if it would slide into a ditch or make it downΒ successfully. Fortunately, it did.) πŸ™‚

Smiling at the skiers and watching them ski down this hill, they saw me, smiled, and posed for the camera. πŸ™‚

The skiers posing for the camera

The skiers posing for the camera

When they got to the bottom, they started to ski down the sidewalk. This made me laugh.

The skiers cross country skiing down the sidewalk

The skiers cross country skiing down the sidewalk

Hiking on, cars continued to go by as I neared the grocery stores on the corner up ahead.

Snowy roads

Snowy roads

As I approached the grocery stores, I noticed a mom and her daughter playing with one of the bushes. The daughter was laughing as she knocked the snow off the bush, branch by branch. πŸ™‚

Sled with supplies coming back from the grocery store

Sled with supplies coming back from the grocery store

Having sleds. I guess this is something that the locals do. That and having reusable shopping bags because, again, this is Seattle. πŸ˜‰

Across the street you’ll see PCC, a local organic sustainable market. On the left side of the street is a QFC, one of the main supermarket chains here on the area. It looked busier so I went there first.

The QFC was hoppin'

The QFC was hoppin'

Now I didn’t need anything from the grocery store since I had gone a few days earlier, but I was eager to see how busy this place was and if people would be buying up a storm… no pun intended. πŸ™‚

There were definitely people there and as I clacked along in my snow cleats, I watched as people shopped naturally. There was no empty shelves. Just a nice full fully stocked store. Very nice. πŸ™‚

Next I headed over next door to the PCC.

PCC

PCC

When I got here, I felt like checking into foursquare on my phone for some reason. When I did, I unlocked a deal that gave me a free cup of soup.

Thank you! A free hot meal after hiking in the snow for a while! How wonderful! So picked up a cup of this delicious looking Hungarian mushroom soup. Then I headed over to the kombucha section to get a drink to go with it.

Kombucha

Kombucha

Enjoying the drink and knowing it was really healthy, I asked what was so special about kombucha, since I still don’t really know. The guy I asked wasn’t totally certain either so he picked up a bottle of it and it said that it was good for digestion and a whole list of stuff, right on the label. Oh, right, that was easy. πŸ˜‰

I picked up a bottle myself and laughed at what I saw:

Found Abraham-Hicks on a Kombucha bottle

Found Abraham-Hicks on a Kombucha bottle

PCC has a little lunch area with picnic tables where you can have a seat. I talked to the people nearby, including this one dude who was also wearing a ski mask. He said that he was going up the street to go snowboard down a hill. Way cool. πŸ™‚

Once I finished my nice tasty meal, I smiled and waved to a little shy kid who smiled back and then headed back out.

It felt cold to be back outdoors again!

Zipping my pitzips back up, I started hiking back.

On the way, I spotted an odd four wheeler going by, which made me feel like I was in redneck town. :p

The driver gave me a fist pump as he drove by and saw me taking a picture. πŸ™‚

Two kids cheering as the drive down on a 4 wheeler

Two kids cheering as the drive down on a 4 wheeler

Since I was feeling cold at this point, I decided to jog back, picking up the pace, and warming my body back up quickly.

It was a wonderful jog back. πŸ™‚

A Subaru cruisin' back

A Subaru cruisin' back

When I finally got home, I started checking the weather again. Would I be able to drive to work tomorrow? Hopefully not. πŸ˜‰ It looked like it was supposed to both warm up and rain tomorrow, so driving conditions looked good. or at least getting gooder.

When I got up the next morning, I made sure to give myself plenty of time to both clean off my car, if I was going to go, as well as make the drive safely and slowly.

When I got to my car, the snow was pretty crusty, having frozen and much of it getting iced up. Brushing it away didn’t seem to work all that well, but gently pounding the snow with my arm/fist was enough to break it up so I could knock the snow off the car.

I gotta admit I was pretty sad to watch the snow go, to clear it all off the car. But when it was all said and done, I was able to get it all clear.

Car after I knocked all the snow off

Car after I knocked all the snow off

Even though some of the snow was piled up in front of the car, I was able to get out and leave the neighborhood. The apartment complex was definitely snowed in, but once you get out, the plows had been through so it was pretty straightforward to get it.

The dealership itself was still snowed in, and it took me 3 tries to make it up a hill to park πŸ˜‰ but I eventually got in.

Later that day it started raining, and the snow was starting to warm andΒ disintegrate, turning into dirty slush.

Slush forming at the dealership

Slush forming at the dealership

The forecast actually called for flooding in some areas. The rain had actually started to carve little rivers in the snow as it melted. Stomping and splashing through the rivers, I walked towards the road, finding myself standing in about 4″ of water intermixed with the browning slush. I was way fun to walk around in, and I was amused how the water would actually cool down my feet as I stood in it with my waterproof boots.

The rest of the day, other than selling a car and working my internet leads, consisted of a lot of playing and stomping around in the snow and slush.

This is definitely fun stuff.

I love this. πŸ™‚

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