Monday, December 21, 2009

Remember December 2008? Did you go out in the snow and ice?

Headline from WSDOT's Web site Dec. 25, 2008: "Don we now our rain apparel? Warmer temperatures are welcome gifts to Washington drivers"

On the west side, we were just warming up from the most recent winter storm. Over the mountains and into Eastern Washington you could still find some spots of ice and snow.

While WSDOT road crews were out fighting the weather Christmas Day (and the days and nights leading up to it), I sent that info to news outlets and our Web site while toasty warm on Christmas Day. Those crews are much tougher than me. (Side note: Should I praise or curse technology? Hmmmm - still trying to decide.)

On our YouTube channel we have some videos about what we do all winter.

So back to my point - snow was here in December 2008. As we got closer to January, it finally started to turn around. This type of weather can wreak havoc on travel, so the travel patterns and drivers who travel in December can vary widely from year to year. For this reason, WSDOT will not be posting historical travel data for Christmas and New Years Holiday weekends.

We typically post historical travel data to show drivers when we expect heavier-than-normal traffic on key vacation-type routes. With both Christmas and New Years on Friday this year, we thought about it. But, the historical data can get skewed with one or two days of bad weather in late December.

Our colleagues at AAA have information on projected travel, which they gather through nationwide surveys.

We do have some travel information for Christmas and New Years. We find only two spots of higher-than-normal traffic, the I-5 area north of Seattle and I-5 through Thurston and Lewis counties. Remember, the predictions are based on clear driving conditions.

The mountain pass highways aren't one of the heavy travel spots in late December, but ski season and any new snow may bring more people to I-90 Snoqualmie Pass, US 2 Stevens Pass and US 12 White Pass.

Regardless, prepare and know before you go. Washington weather can change quickly.


Steffie Ann said...

Last winter traveled safely on I-5 between King and Whatcom counties thanks to the fantastic effort WSDOT crews made. In Seattle the streets were a nightmare, including arterials - couldn't believe the difference. Keep up the good work!!

Anonymous said...

city of kenmore doesn't even own a plow

Anonymous said...

kenmore doesn't even have a plow never saw one all week

The Geezer said...

I traveled to work every day. Sent my colleagues a "snow report" email every morning at 4AM, to give them all the info they may need in one place.

Two links were to WSDOT websites, plus my observations from my own front porch, which is within a peek-a-boo view of I-5 at Swamp Creek.

Only went down one exit on I-5, but nice work. County roads were more of a challenge.

In perspective, there are about 500 folks in my building. One morning, there were only 4 of us that showed up.

The Geez

Anonymous said...

Yes. That was the time it took me the better part of three hours to get home to Tacoma from Tumwater. I5 was nothing but a solid sheet of ice and the surface streets were worse. Was four days before we were able to leave the house again!

Anonymous said...

Keep posting stuff like this i really like it

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