Preparing for
Snow Storms
Snow Storms
Recovering from
Snow Storms


During conditions of snow, ice, and severe frost, the City of Kirkland follows an established plan to provide, as best as possible, passable routes for emergency vehicles, school buses, public transportation, commercial vehicles, travelers, and commuters.

The plan is accomplished through coordination of several City entities:

Public Works: responsible for snow and ice control on public streets
Parks: responsible for snow and ice control in and around public buildings and facilities
Equipment Rental: responsible for setup, maintenance & repair of vehicles and equipment
Based upon the direction of an activated City Emergency Communications Center or the City’s Department Directors, crews will provide 24-hour coverage.

As the personnel, equipment, and resources needed to keep all roadways passable during a major snow or ice event is beyond the City’s capability, vehicles and equipment will be assigned so that they provide the best service to the public. Generally, streets considered the highest priority, will be cleared first.  To view a map of the highest priority streets, click here.

High priority streets include major arterials, bus routes, access to and from schools, and access to and from the Police Station, Fire Stations, Evergreen Hospital, and freeway interchanges. All other streets are plowed based on overall traffic volumes or public safety. Residential only streets, cul-de-sacs, and dead ends have a lesser priority. Streets are normally first plowed in the same direction as AM or PM rush hour traffic.

During significant snow and ice events, the following roadways may be closed due to steep grades which create a hazard to motorists and insufficient traction for safety: 


During significant snow and ice events certain streets may be closed due to steep grades which create a hazard to motorists due to inability to stop at the bottom or at intersections on the steep street. These streets are generally not high priority streets, although it may be necessary to close certain high priority streets as needed due to inability to maintain the street sufficient to protect public safety. Street closures will be coordinated with the Police and Fire Departments for their emergency response planning during snow and ice events. Generally, the following streets will be closed during significant snow and ice events due to steep grade of the streets and the inability to provide sufficient traction for safety:

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108th Avenue NE NE 38th Street NE 44th Street
NE 52nd Street Lake Wash. Blvd. 108th Avenue NE
5th Avenue S Lake Street S State Street S
5th Place 15th Avenue 18th Avenue
10th Avenue  Market Street  1st Street
11th Avenue Market Street

1st Street

12th Avenue Market Street 1st Street
13th Avenue Market Street 1st Street
14th Avenue  Market Street

1st Street

15th Avenue Market Street 1st Street
18th Avenue Market Street 1st Street
19th Avenue Market Street

1st Street

NE 112th Street 100th Avenue NE 104th Avenue NE
NE 120th Street Slater Avenue NE 132nd Avenue NE
120th Avenue NE NE 116th Street NE 118th Street
NE 116th Street 98th Avenue NE 104th Avenue NE
120th Avenue NE NE 85th Street NE 90th Street
116th Avenue NE NE 124th Street  Park & Ride Entrance (NE 130th Street)
NE 97th  Street  112th Avenue NE 110th Avenue NE

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Attempts will first be made to remove snow with a snow plow. If accumulations harden into compact snow and ice, sand will be applied, with just enough rock salt mixed in to prevent the sand from freezing in the sander units. The sand mixture will only be used on ice, as it provides no benefit on snow.

Preparing for Snow Storms

The Seattle/King County area averages at least one significant snowfall annually. The next time it happens, be ready.

Winterize your vehicle
Make sure your car tires are in good condition and maintain a full tank of gas. Store blankets, a bag of sand, shovel, a window scraper, flares, warm clothes in the trunk. Also carry a set of properly sized tire chains in your vehicle - and learn how to put it on!

Plan ahead
Identify the best snow route home involving the fewest hills possible. Remember, freeways, major arterials and bus routes are the best bets for winter travel.

Pick up transit timetables containing information on snow routes and plan to commute by bus in bad weatehr.

Develop an emergency plan with your family to identify where each member should go if getting to your home is not possible because of snow conditions. Make sure there are provisions - food, blankets - at your contingency location. Familiarize yourself with school, daycare and employer snow policies.

Make sure you have a battery-operated radio and flashlight at home in case the power fails.

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Surviving Snow Storms

When the snow begins to fall road conditions can deteriorate very quickly. Traveling by bus is often your best commuting option. The best place to catch the bus is along major arterials. Wait at the top or bottom of hills. Check your timetable for snow routes. Remember buses will be more crowded than usual and not always on schedule.

Drive only if necessary
If you must drive, consider a car pool and follow your winter travel plan. Take your time, listen to local radio stations for the latest road conditions and traffic reports. Local broadcast stations are your best sources for up-to-date weather information.

If conditions require you to abandon your vehicle, pull as far off the road as possible. Abandoned vehicles make the job of clearing snow and ice from roads nearly impossible and can create dangers for other motorists.

Consider this when deciding whether to drive in snow conditions: snow and ice disrupt routine traffic patterns often causing increased congestion countywide. Differences in elevation can make winter driving in this region particularly hazardous. A normal half hour commute can easily be lengthened to several hours. Plan for snow and ice, consider the alternatives to driving - and avoid becoming part of the problem.

Prepare for service disruptions.
during winter storms, power failures and other service disruptions may occur. Communications systems become overloaded, slowing emergency response. You can help keep the lines of communication open by using the phone only when necessary. 

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Recovering from Snow Storms

Depending on the severity of the snow, it may take several hours to several days for life to return to normal in the city and county. In the aftermath of the storm, be patient, self-sufficient, and travel only if it's absolutely necessary.

Continue to rely on public transit whenever possible.
Dress warmly and be prepared for delays in bus schedules.

If you must drive, stick to your winter travel plan. Remember, major arterials, highways, and bus routes will be cleared first in Seattle and King County by snow removal crews who are working around-the-clock.

Expect continued power and service disruptions.
Despite improving weather conditions, snow and ice storms affect everyone - even service providers. You may continue to experience disruptions in services such as power and garbage/recycling collection after the storm has passed. Listen to the radio.

Put your safety first
Keep in mind, it's the responsibility of the property owner to keep sidewalks clear of snow and ice.

Do not sled on roads and streets. Even roads and streets that have been closed can be dangerous. Take your winter fun to the park! 

General Warnings

Keep portable emergency supplies with you including:

Additional Information and Resources:

NOAA - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (206) 526-6087
Weather Radio
TV Stations
Radio Stations

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