22 December, 2008

Four days of snow, and one plow sighting

I have been making various attempts at puttering about Seattle in the extreme snow disaster that we have incurred here during the last four days. This has been possible due to the fact that my car came into my possession with a set of chains that I have been using. And up until tonight, at midnight, on the start of Day 5 of the winter weather "event", I had not seen one single snow plow. Then, sure enough, tonight I finally saw one. A large SDOT (Seattle Department of Transportation) plow, on 23rd Avenue, near Aloha Street. It was pulled over to the side of the road, and the driver was out of the truck, trying to assist someone who had clearly managed to land their car in a snow pile, stuck, and unable to get back on the road. 

This snow plow was not doing a very good job, either, I might note. Even the plowed surface still seemed to have about an inch of compacted snow. This is potentially worse than untreated roads, when you figure that this smooth surface, though slight melting, and then subsequent chilling, will be turning into a perfect skating rink during the next 3 nights.

I have not seen any sand trucks, or salt trucks. And for the most part, all secondary roads in the city are virtually untreated. That's just the way they have to do things here in Seattle, because the city is not budgeted to handle weather disasters of this type. If the same storm had occurred in Boston, there probably would have been 1 "snow day" and then everything would have been fine. But here it's different.

In fairness, I should note that after the first day of snow, the interstate (I-90) was completely clear, and appeared to have been treated with something, either plowing, or sand. Though, tonight, I heard that I-5 was completely untreated and road conditions were abyssmal. 

Fortunately, this is not a regular thing. But one still has to wonder if spending a couple of million dollars on 50 or so more plows might not be a bad idea. Or maybe one does not have to wonder.

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