Clallam officials prepare for snow

City and county crews are prepared for possible lowland snow next week, officials in Clallam County said.

The National Weather Service said Thursday, Jan. 9, there was a chance of snow in Port Angeles, Sequim and Forks on Sunday or Monday as temperatures plummet and more snow later in the week.

“We’re already ready,” Clallam County Engineer Ross Tyler said Thursday.

“Crews have already been sanding the roads as necessary. … Everybody is set up in winter mode and ready to go.”

Clallam County Public Works has a fleet of 15 large plows and 15 smaller plows rigged onto pickups. Main roads are plowed first.

“The first roads that get plowed are all the bus routes, and that’s pretty much all the main roads,” Tyler said.

“From there, we immediately turn around and start hitting everything else.”

The county has 500 miles of road in its network.

In major events like the February 2019 snowstorm, only the main roads are plowed. The county does not have the capacity to plow 24 hours.

“When we get the ‘Snowmageddons,’ then some of the smaller side roads may not get it for days,” Tyler said.

“That’s all the capacity we have.”

KOMO meteorologist and Port Angeles native Scott Sistek predicted Thursday that cold air would begin to pour in from the Fraser River Valley on Sunday.

“Any showers that manage to linger into Sunday night will likely be snow, but we are fast running out of moisture, so any accumulations would be minor to non-existent,” Sistek said on KOMONews.com.

Sistek said there was high confidence about low temperatures next week but uncertainty in snow accumulations.

“It’s the end of the week where we now have our best chance of widespread snows,” Sistek said. “The details differ between the models, but both bring rather potent weather systems into the Northwest. One focuses on Thursday, the other on Friday, but both would portend a widespread snow event.”

The city of Sequim announced Thursday that crews would be on call throughout the weekend to clear city streets if necessary.

“During snowstorms, the city crew concentrates on clearing the main arterials first,” Operations Manager Ty Brown said in a press release.

“Washington Street, Sequim Avenue, Fifth Avenue, Third Avenue, overpasses and school routes (when schools are in session) are the top priorities.”

Sequim crews spread magnesium chloride, a liquid de-icing agent, on main arterials and overpasses when temperatures drop below freezing.

The city of Port Angeles also prioritizes main arterials that connect hospitals, fire stations, police stations and emergency rescue units, according to the city’s snow removal procedures.

The city posted information on how to stay safe during winter storms on its website, cityofpa.us.

Port Angeles has 144 miles of roads. Sequim has 54 miles of roads.

Sequim residents can view a map of the snow clearing routes on the city’s website, sequimwa.gov.

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