Community Post

Worst Snowfalls in Seattle

We have been chit chatting about the worst, so here it is from the end of the following article:

HEAVY SNOWFALS (sic where is the copy editor?)

  • The biggest snowstorm of the last century was in 1916, when 33 inches fell between Jan. 31 and Feb. 3. That storm holds the record for the most snow falling in 24 hours, at 21.5 inches between 5 p.m. Feb. 1 and 5 p.m. the next day.
  • During an unexpected storm that began on Jan. 13, 1950, the Puget Sound area was choked by almost 2 feet of snow that fell in 24 hours. Winds whipped the snow into drifts 6 feet high and blinded those caught out and about, making it the area’s only snowfall on record to be considered an actual blizzard. The storm left 13 people dead and caused $1 million in damage.
  • Seattle’s snowiest winter on record was in 1968-69, with a total of 67.5 inches.
  • A storm beginning on Dec. 18, 1990, dumped a foot of snow in and around Seattle. Teachers stayed overnight with 2,600 stranded pupils at 37 schoolhouses around King County rather than send them off into the hazardous elements.
  • A series of snow, ice and rainstorms beginning on Dec. 26, 1996, caused 16 deaths in the state and $57 million in damages in Seattle and King County. Two storms — one dumping 6-12 inches and another of 10 inches of wet snow — followed by heavy rain collapsed carports and covered boat moorings and snapped power lines.
  • 0 thoughts on “Worst Snowfalls in Seattle

    1. Besides the heavy snowfall, there was record-breaking cold (down to zero here in the city). My house, which at that time was 89 years old, has no basement, and we had to stuff towels and sheets everywhere that cold air could get in – at the base of kitchen cabinets, at the bottom of doors to unheated rooms, etc. And the back (west side) of my house was totally coated by ice for days – looked like a frozen waterfall was coming down from the roof.

      I worked out in Fremont at the time and couldn’t get my car out of the company parking lot the night it snowed. Took the bus downtown, walked home from somewhere around 2nd and Virginia, and took the bus (two buses, actually) to work for ten days until I could finally get my car home (my tires were bad, and I hadn’t gotten new ones because I was going to get a newer car in a few weeks, so I was afraid to drive the six or so miles on ice). Guess what – the buses ran much better in that storm than in this one!

      Most of this was while I had my right knee in a brace because severe arthritis had set in while I was crawling around under my house in zero degrees trying to thaw frozen pipes (fortunately the knee problem went away after it warmed up and has never been a problem since). This was the time when I left the water dripping from two faucets when I went to bed but one of my kids didn’t get the message and turned the faucets off because he thought we were wasting water.

    2. I smiled at the comments on another thread about how few of us have been here long or for many of the previous December Storms.

      I was a toddler in Whatcom County in 1950 and my dad built us igloos out of snow drifts that went up to the eaves of the farm buildings. Lots of BIG drifts and power outages through my childhood winters. And I walked miles and miles to school in the deep, deep snow, uphill both ways.

      The winter of ’67-68, I took the 5am bus from Capitol Hill to the U District to work. The electric connections overhead flashed as the power lines iced, making for a sparkly ride down 10th Avenue East. I recall that we had snow/ice on the ground, not necessarily the streets, for two months. And the buses ran.

      In the 1990 Really Cold spell, one of our water pipes burst at about 12:30am under our 1901-built house. We ran the tub half full for bucket flushing and several large pots full of water for coffee before we shut the water off to the house. Hey, we had our priorities straight. Coffee in, coffee out. Done.

      So far, so good this year. I am grateful.

    3. I used to live in Seattle and now I live in Minneapolis. It was funny every year seeing the city of Seattle shut down for temps and weather that are completely normal here. The city and residents every year seemed shocked at this white substance that came from the sky and never could figure out how to deal with it.

    4. ‘And I walked miles and miles to school in the deep, deep snow, uphill both ways.’ Totally iconic!