Was last week’s snowfall Snowmageddon II, a sequel to last February’s winter storm? No … at least, not for Sequim.
From Jan. 13-16, the Sequim area saw somewhere between 5.6 to 8 inches of snow, compared to about 15-20 in Port Angeles and further west.
Businesses, schools and community groups closed for some of the week in the Sequim area fearing last year’s February snowfall that brought in around three feet of snow.
The Sequim School District opted for two-hour late starts on Jan. 13 and 17 and closed Jan. 14-16.
“It was much different from last year,” said Assistant Fire Chief Dan Orr with Clallam County Fire District 3.
“We found two things from this: Folks learned a lot from last year, and this happened at night — so people woke up to it and took advantage and just stayed home,” Orr said. “It wasn’t to the level of madness last year.”
Incidents in the Sequim area were minor or non-injury, he said.
Ambulances became stuck two or three times in hard-to-reach areas throughout the week, he said, which was much less than last year’s storm.
On U.S. Highway 101, Trooper Chelsea Hodgson, Washington State Patrol public information officer, reported that between Jan. 13-16 in Clallam County there were 11 abandoned vehicles, 33 disabled vehicle assists and 21 reported collisions.
Five of those collisions were in the Sequim area, with a majority of Clallam’s collisions and/or disabled vehicles coming from spin-outs or vehicles going in ditches, she reported.
“The most common factor causing the collisions were drivers exceeding a safe speed for the road conditions,” Hodgson said.
In the City of Sequim, crews ran five consecutive 24-hour shifts to keep roads clear.
“It went great by all accounts,” Sequim Public Works Director David Garlington said.
City crews ran seven plows during last week’s storm, compared to five last year.
Crews alternated after 12-hour shifts and used about 120 yards of sand, six tons of salt and 3,000 gallons magnesium chloride on city streets, Sequim Operations Manager Ty Brown said.
This week, city crews plan to clear catch basins and the street sweeper will pick up material on the streets, he said.
The sand can’t be reused because of the road grease and garbage in it, Brown said, so it’ll be transported to Olympic Disposal.
Relief efforts continued for local service agencies during the storm. At the Sequim Food Bank, volunteer Stephen Rosales said they delivered meals as needed to people who couldn’t escape the snow.
The food bank’s only hindrance, he said, was last Thursday when volunteers were unable to pack and deliver the Weekend Meal Bags for about 120 Sequim students.
The Sequim Warming Center in St. Luke’s Episcopal Church opened during the storm. The total for the number of visitors was not available by press time.
Pacific Pantry re-opened after tree hit
The Pacific Pantry eatery was struck by a falling segment of tree on Jan. 15 after the tree in front of the restaurant at 229 S. Sequim Ave. broke during a period of snowfall and high winds just after noon.
The restaurant was closed at the time due to the weather with no one inside, owner Johnathan Pabst said.
“We were really fortunate,” Pabst said. “There’s three baseball-sized holes we’re getting patched, but the damage was minimal otherwise.”
Pacific Pantry was open again on Jan. 17.
Pabst said they elected to take the rest of the tree down on Jan. 16.
“Our neighbor Roger was a huge help,” Pabst said. “He helped with the cleanup and was there with me all day working on the tree.”
Pabst also said that he was extremely appreciative of the community around Pacific Pantry, with many people in the area reaching out to him and others who work at the restaurant to see if everything was OK.
Storm traps Kitsap residents up Palo Alto Road
Three Kitsap County residents were marooned in snowstorm-related strandings on Jan. 15.
Ethan Bales, Jordan Olson and Rachel Seidel, estimated to be in their 20s, of Kitsap County were confined to a pickup truck for more than 27 hours between about 11 a.m. Tuesday morning, Jan. 14, and early the next afternoon.
Their Toyota Tacoma extended-cab pickup became stuck in 2-3 feet of snow on a U.S. Forest Service road in the Palo Alto Road area about 15 miles southeast of Sequim.
Brian King, Clallam County chief criminal deputy, said the trio had food, water, and a half-tank of gas. He said friends tried rescuing them before they, too, got stuck and had to turn around.
They were plucked to safety by members of Top Shelf Wheelers ORC, a member of the four-wheel-drive vehicle club said. Four Top Shelf members, Ben Vance, joined by Joe Smalley, Jeb Abernathy and Fred Patton, pulled the trio’s vehicle out of the snow.
“We had to push through a 5-foot-tall snow drift to be able to keep going,” Patton recalled.
A Clallam County search-and-rescue team also aided in the effort.
Conor Dowley and Paul Gottlieb contributed to this story.
Reach Matthew Nash at email@example.com.