Slog: News & Arts

RSS icon Comments on The Morning News


Jesus, what a Christ-punching clusterfuck. All of it.

Posted by laterite | November 28, 2006 8:01 AM

The worst thing about being a cyclist in seattle: when its snowy, I'm the only person that makes it to my office. I feel like I'm in a cubical graveyard. Damn high pressure zones.

Posted by Joh | November 28, 2006 8:55 AM

got a call this morning at 8 - office closed. got three emails - my three meetings cancelled. THE ROADS ARE FINE, SEATTLE! oh my god!

Posted by jk | November 28, 2006 9:21 AM

major roads are fine but i just ice skated the last three blocks to work. and i second the cubical graveyard -- out of fifteen total desks in my immediate area i'm one of TWO people

Posted by charles | November 28, 2006 9:23 AM

take care... an inch of snow in Seattle is worth a foot in the midwest (3-6 in New England if it is sleeting), and the northwest black ice is a bitch when it simply looks like a shadow or water on pavement, add some powder snow on top... wham and goodnight

on the other hand, not many things beat a crisp northwest morning like today when the snow is on the ground, the sky is clear, and you can see across the water (take your pick, I like Puget Sound) and the mountains (again, the Olympics are what I like seeing) are right out there. Front and center.

Posted by Phenics | November 28, 2006 9:27 AM

I love it when things are this quiet. It feels like when I come into work on Christmas Day.

Posted by golob | November 28, 2006 9:30 AM

jk> what are you bitching about? Your office gave you the day off! How I wish that would happen to me...

Posted by Mike in MO | November 28, 2006 9:37 AM

i'm getting the day off because the office is CLOSED. i've got shit to do! and how can my office justify closing when the roads are FINE?!

i love seattle, but our city's snow-phobia drives me insane!

Posted by jk | November 28, 2006 9:41 AM

yeah i'd kind of prefer to be at home with a warm bowl of chili. maybe play some video juegos and sleep on the couch. that's what a snow day is supposed to be. oh well.

Posted by charles | November 28, 2006 9:42 AM

Thanks for the reminders phenics. At this moment the sun is shining! and I bet the stores are vacant for some Christmas shopping at lunch (not too much, i promise)

Posted by RYAN SR. | November 28, 2006 9:50 AM

i live in the canadian praries and let me tell you this - we have *never* had a closure of any kind related to winter weather.

Posted by kitcho | November 28, 2006 10:00 AM

I walk to and from work so I don't get snow days, no matter how bad it is. I'm what the French call "SUCKER!"

Posted by monkey | November 28, 2006 10:00 AM


SOME roads are fine, mainly (as Charles posted @4) the major arterials, but residential and streets on hills are another matter entirely. I spent 20 minutes watching in amusement as cars skidded and spun out on a solidly frozen E Union this morning trying to get through the intersection and up the hill, while the drivers on 23rd sashayed through the same interesection on mostly dry pavement.

In hilly Seattle, your ability to get around depends a great deal on your surrounding geography, which means a lot of folks simply won't (and IMO shouldn't) bother trying to navigate several blocks of frozen streets just to get to the clear ones.

Posted by COMTE | November 28, 2006 10:02 AM

@11 -- you also have plows and barns full of salt and sand ;)

I grew up in harsh midwestern winters and I didn't have a single snow day during all four years of high school, and when I came out to seattle and it snowed for the first time I thought everyone was being stupid. Then i watched an articulated bus slide down cherry at a forty-five degree angle narrowly missing the line of cars parked on the side of the road and it opened my eyes. Ice + hills + no meaningful snow removal equipment = people sleeping in their cars on the interstate. not to mention people here also don't seem to understand that when it is snowing you shouldn't be driving forty five mph on surface streets (ballard bridge anyone?). scary.

Posted by charles | November 28, 2006 10:17 AM

so i should just shut up and enjoy my day off? okay. done.

Posted by jk | November 28, 2006 10:23 AM

JK - you can use my cube today. rent free :)

Posted by charles | November 28, 2006 10:27 AM

My offices were deserted too.

It took me five minutes to drive in - I usually walk to work ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | November 28, 2006 10:43 AM

All the whining about the icy conditions makes me LOL.

I got caught in the thick of it on my way back to the U District last night. Traffic on Eastlake came to a standstill as cars got caught in ice and couldn't gain traction. I got off at Eastlake/Edgar and walked all the way to UW. Conditions were icy as ever but I walked carefully and didn't slip.

My class at UW last night went on as scheduled. Work was open as scheduled in SODO. My class tonight is on as scheduled (the professor e-mailed us to confirm).

And though I walked half a mile on ice to get to the bus stop, the Ave was mostly free of ice as of 7 am this morning. Downtown was ice free. SODO was ice free. And the ice will dissipate as it should be sunny today and the temp should get warm enough to melt some of it away, plus the DOT and neighborhood maintenance will continue to de-ice the roads and sidewalks.

Life goes on, people. Many of you Seattlites were praying for a snow day. Unless you are surrounded by an impassable sheet of ice, I suggest you suck it up and get back to work.

Posted by Gomez | November 28, 2006 11:04 AM

A helpful hint from a one-time Michigander: When your tires loose traction, flooring makes it worse. Let off the gas and as the tires slow down you'll suddenly regain traction thanks to the wonders of static vs kinetic friction.

My dorky high-school-physics-based PSA for the day. ;p

Posted by golob | November 28, 2006 11:18 AM

Oooh! I am so filled with nostalgia recalling snow days in Seattle. How much has it snowed?

I haven't had a single snow-day since I moved away. Even when it snowed here in NoCal last winter, we still had work, if only because businesses and government didn't seem to know that closing might be the safer option.

Posted by dewsterling | November 28, 2006 11:54 AM


It's not whining (well, okay maybe some of it is), so much as a simple acknowledgement that in Seattle, extreme weather conditions that would be common in other parts of the country do have significant impacts.

We simply don't get enough of this kind of weather on a consistent basis to justify the purchase and maintenance of large numbers of snow removal and sanding equipment, most of which would sit unused for 360+ days out of the year. And so, the small inventory we do have naturally gets prioritized: airport runways, freeways, & major arterials get cleared or sanded first, while the majority of hilly and residential streets get nothing; there's just not enough equipment available to do that thorough a job.

So, for many people simply getting out of their driveways can be not only difficult, but downright dangerous on icy streets, especially in neighborhoods where the roads are fairly narrow to begin with, and lined with parked cars on either side. I admit, there's nothing more amusing than watching some smartass in an SUV caroming like a pin ball from one side of the street to the other trying to slip-slide their way to a clear arterial - unless of course your car happens to be one of those that gets hit in the process.

Also, many of the midwesterners here who laugh at our driving habits seem to overlook some key mitigating factors: 1.) you simply can't gain experience driving in these conditions when it only occurs for a couple of days once a year; 2.) there's a huge difference between driving on ice when the terrain is generally flat (as it is in most of the midwestern states), than there is trying to go up or down hills; 3.) because of the relative infrequency of this type of weather, many people, especially in-town, don't see much point in investing in things like chains and snow tires that they'll only need one or two days a year; and 4.) people who live in outlying areas (typically where the snowfall tends to be highest) don't have as easy access to public transit as us in-city folk, so their transportation options are more limited.

Under these conditions, it's common sense to discourage people from getting on the roads, even covered with only a paltry inch or less of frozen water, in order to decrease the number of accidents and resulting injuries. Sure, it inconveniences businesses, and places an unfair burdon on those who CAN get to work safely, but if it saves lives, and reduces property damage, it seems like a reasonable trade-off.

Posted by COMTE | November 28, 2006 11:58 AM

I agree, I love watching SUVs spin out and crash into trees too.

Posted by Will in Seattle | November 28, 2006 12:01 PM

Comte, you're whining. Cut it out.

Posted by Gomez | November 28, 2006 12:06 PM

A lot of the ice problems would have been averted or at least lessened if the DOT had begun salting the main roads BEFORE the snow came. They knew when it was coming and where it was headed. It's silly.

TV and radio reporters urging people to stay home over two inches of snow. Silly.

I have to say though, I do enjoy watching drivers floor the gas in an effort to gain traction, have it fail, and then continue trying the same failed tactic. I could watch them all day.

Posted by PA Native | November 28, 2006 12:48 PM

Gomez, you're being a bitch. Cut it out.

Posted by matthew fisher wilder | November 28, 2006 1:55 PM

gomez, he's not wining. THIS is whining, lol

Last night's 11 (ELEVEN) hour commute was not only a nightmare for the drive, but had a few other experiences that can be summed up in the phrase lawlessness abounded. There was a man who was urinating in public view standing on the freeway and then made a lewd gesture and facial expression to me and another woman, right there in front of many drivers. I called 911 for a completely separate incident in which a man was driving the wrong way down the entrance ramp on 405 and was intimidating people and got out of his car, came up to my window and told me to move out of his way but I could not. The 911 dispatcher, despite me telling her I was very frightened of the man approaching me and his behavior and asked her to stay on the line with me and she said she didn't have time and hung up on me. That was scary. Another time an 18 wheeler started sliding on ice right next to me and if I had not scooted over to the shoulder it probably would have hit me. After leaving the Seattle downtown area at 5:15 pm, I finally got home at 4:00 a.m. without falling asleep at the wheel, thank goodness. I called the man I am dating and he nicely talked on my cell phone with me to try and calm me down. I finally reached a breaking point after 9 hours of being trapped with all the thousands of commuters and started crying, I couldn't stop crying. I later started talking to a few of the people who had turned off their cars or were walking around about why our WA DOT failed us in thinking ahead and using salt rocks to help melt ice or sand on the freeways. Is this Afghanistan or the United States? We are a civilized society with equipment, are we not? I mean, it's not like they did not know we would have snow and ice. Myself and other drivers were very upset with the DOT last night after realizing they are the ones responsible. Are they so unreliable? Last night's nightmare is UNACCEPTABLE.

Posted by Michelle at 10:15 AM, Nov 28, 2006
what a fucking gem, eh? :D

Posted by charles | November 28, 2006 2:11 PM

That's real clever, wilder.

Also, while the suburbanites indeed have had a ton of strife (legitimate issues all)... Comte IIRC lives in the city proper and it's not nearly as bad along the major corridors. Hell, I made it to work in reasonable time.

He's whining when he has no rela place doing so. Vegas would get snow and ice every ten years or so, and it wasn't nearly as bad. And no, they didn't salt those roads either.

This city's full of drama queens.

Posted by Gomez | November 28, 2006 2:31 PM

LOL, charles, for reposting that. Crying, CRYING, cry the beloathed commute! I hope "michelle" freaks out and moves away. It'd do her fellow citizens some good.

CRYING!!!! I've had to walk home 6 miles in 35 degree weather because an arranged ride blew me off, among other horror experiences, and never was I close to CRYING. CRYING!!! LOL.

Posted by Gomez | November 28, 2006 2:37 PM

in my mind's eye michelle is a filipino young female upwardly mobile professional driving a Porsche a la the protagonist in half asleep in frog pajamas. the pisser is larry diamond to michelle's gwen matti. she probably didn't mention the monkey in the trunk to 911 OR her boyfriend. The following quote from said book seems appropriate

You wonder if God doesn't have an answering machine to screen out the prayers of the venal and the boring? And in which category has he placed you?

Posted by charles | November 28, 2006 3:23 PM

FWIW, Gomez I did go to work today (I did, however, leave the car at home - I prefer not to have my vehicle used as a moving Jersey Barrier by people who don't know how to drive on icy roads), so my intent wasn't to complain about not being able to get around, I was simply trying to point out there are very legitimate (not to mention obvious) reasons why we don't have 500 snowplows and sand trucks (with drivers and support personnel) perpetually standing by to hit the road at a second's notice on the one or two occasions per year when an Artic cold front happens to dump a few inches of snow on the region.

And last time I was there, Vegas was flat as a pancake, with only a handful of major arterials almost all of which, IIRC lead more-or-less directly to the Strip. Plus, the city is just chock-full of extremely wealthy casino operations that would lose literally truckloads of money a day if their employees couldn't get to work on time to lay out the "all you can eat seafood buffet", or cover the three deck blackjack tables. So, it makes sense they'd have a substantial inventory of heavy clearing equipment on-hand, especially since they get - what - about 10 times the amount of annual snowfall that we do here?

And, six miles takes the average person less than two hours to walk; are you seriously comparing that to being trapped on a freeway for 11 hours? Talk about whining...

PA Native: We don't salt in these parts; bad for cars, ultimately bad for roads themselves due to the corrosive effects of the salt. And sanding isn't effective if done before the snow accumulates, otherwise all the tractiony goodness just gets buried beneath the ice.

Posted by COMTE | November 28, 2006 4:23 PM

It's best not to cry while walking home in the cold - the tears will just make your face that much colder.

Comte has a point. Unless you have the equipment to deal with snow and ice, and the cost/benefit ratio of buying said equipment isn't justified in Seattle, it's best to try and stay off the roads. *Usually* it melts in a day or two anyway. In the meantime, all-wheel drive and slow speeds are your friends, use them.

Posted by dewsterling | November 28, 2006 4:38 PM

COMTE is right on about why this region lacks substantial snow removal equipment and does not use salt. We also have a much wetter snow here than in the colder midwest (including our Canadian neighbor) which gives less traction and tends to freeze as black ice. One science factoid: since the temp didn't get above freezing, the snow didn't melt today so much as sublimate (the term for frozen water changing directly to vapor without the liquid stage; One of my favorite words for some odd reason).

Posted by i love ipa | November 28, 2006 6:22 PM


Posted by jonny630 | December 9, 2006 6:50 PM

Comments Closed

In order to combat spam, we are no longer accepting comments on this post (or any post more than 45 days old).