City utility, road crews on full response as storm rolls in

SEATTLE – At a briefing this evening at the Emergency Operations Center, Mayor Greg Nickels announced that a fleet of 27 snow plows are clearing Seattle roads and seven utility repair crews stand ready to respond as a winter storm hits the region.

The city of Seattle activated its Emergency Operations Center at 2 pm on Saturday, coordinating responses by the Department of Transportation, Seattle City Light, Seattle Public Utilities, Human Services, Police, Fire and Parks departments.

Snow and ice removal crews will continue clearing arterial roads through the night. Road conditions may become icy tonight as temperatures drop. Two trucks will be dedicated to the West Seattle Bridge and the Alaskan Way Viaduct. The Seattle Department of Transportation is urging residents only to drive if necessary.

A primary concern tonight is expected to be high winds, particular in east King County. At this hour, there are no power outages within the city of Seattle, but City Light is prepared to call in as many crews as needed if conditions change.

Three severe weather shelters remain open at least through Monday night: City Hall, Frye Hotel, and Seattle Center Pavilion B. Shelter beds are still available. Last night, 143 people stayed at the three shelters. During the day, Seattle residents can find warm, public space at Parks Department community centers and the Seattle Center. The following community centers will be open on Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.: Garfield Community Center, Rainier Beach Community Center, South Park Community Center, Rainier Community Center and Hiawatha Community Center.

Seattle’s recycling and garbage transfer stations will be closed tomorrow. Solid waste customers who were missed for pickup today should bring in their containers until next week.

Seattle Public Utilities reminds residents to prepare water pipes for cold weather. Shut off outside faucets, drain the water and protect them by insulating them with rags or foam covers. Pipes in exposed or unheated areas (attics, basements and garages) should be wrapped with tape and insulating materials, available at local hardware stores. Drain and remove all outdoor hoses, and shut off and drain in-ground sprinkler systems.

Residents are also urged to protect indoor sink pipes that are against exterior walls, by opening under-sink cabinet doors, allowing heat to circulate. During severe cold, allow the faucet farthest from your front door to slowly drip cold water. Set your thermostat no lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit, day or night (even if you are away).

If a water pipe breaks, immediately close the main shut-off valve to stop excessive flooding. If you cannot turn off the main shut-off valve, SPU customers can call (206) 386-1800 and a crew will turn off the water at the meter for a standard service charge.

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